Chants of “Head Start is the best start” rang through the California State Capitol grounds as more than 200 Head Start staff and parents converged there on Tuesday, March 12, for HSC’s third annual Head Start to the Capitol Advocacy Day. The day was a resounding success, with a record number of attendees sharing their stories and making their voices heard.

Prior to the event, HSC partnered with ECE Voices to offer a free online introduction to advocacy training, available for viewing online.

The day began with a training session wherein attendees heard from Simone Braithwaite, Communications Director for Assemblymember Kevin McCarty. Braithwaite shared helpful tips for legislative meetings, like putting the ask up front and saying “1 in 5” instead of “20 percent” to help the audience visualize impact. Next, attendees learned more about AB 1930 (Reyes), from HSC’s advocate Khieem Jackson (a Head Start alumni) and Executive Director Melanee Cottrill. Attendees supported each other in a group brainstorming session, sharing their experiences with expired associate teacher permits and ways to support the bill, which would eliminate the current 10-year limit on those permits.

After the training session, attendees made their way to the Capitol’s west steps, where Head Start parents and state officials demonstrated their support for Head Start. Speakers included Assemblymember Reyes, California Department of Social Services Director Kim Johnson, and several Head Start staff and parents. Bolstered by the support of dignitaries and inspired by the stories of parents, attendees set off to visit their local legislators. Visits were so successful that the following week, AB 1930 sailed through its first committee hearing without opposition!

During the training session, attendees asked why we do state advocacy work when our funding is federal. Although Head Start is federally funded, we are also affected by state legislation – universal pre-kindergarten being one notable example. The state’s regulatory power makes it imperative that we share our stories and build connections with our representatives. One attendee noted “my biggest takeaway was that I have a voice and it matters.”

Everyone in Head Start has a voice that matters. We look forward to bringing even more voices to the Capitol next year! View event photos on Facebook.

Participants of Head Start to the Capitol attend a training session at the Library Galleria in Sacramento, CA.

Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes provides an update on Assembly Bill 1930. 

Head Start rally on the West Steps of the California State Capitol.




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