OUR GROWING MOVEMENT FOR CHILD CARE JUSTICE
By: Meredith Loomis Quinlan, Economic Justice Campaign Manager
Our movement for child care justice is more powerful and visible than ever before — thanks to the parents and providers who are leading the way with their vision for transforming care and caretaking in our country.
As Community Change Action’s Economic Justice Campaign Manager, I have spent the past few months gearing up for our second-annual Day Without Child Care, a national day of action to demand equitable access to affordable child care and better pay and working conditions for providers. It was a chance to show the essential role that child care plays in our communities and our economy with one powerful action: stop providing child care for one day.
We rallied our 20,000+ Childcare Changemakers, our grassroots partner cohort, and dozens of our national allies on May 8 to send a clear message: our communities deserve better. We demanded the funding required to support a 21st-century child care system rooted in racial and gender justice.
The energy on the ground was palpable as the Day Without Child Care swept across the country. Child care organizers planned at least 55 events across 21 states and Washington, DC. We doubled participation from last year’s action as more than 700 providers from our Childcare Changemakers and local partners’ bases closed their doors. Thousands of parents, early educators, and community members took action with us in solidarity. More than 100 people came together at the end of the day for a digital rally and celebration highlighting the leaders who planned and participated in local actions.
And just as we hoped, our day of action grabbed national attention to help put a spotlight on the ongoing child care crisis in our country. Our activities generated more than 50 media hits, topped 16,000 social media engagements, helped “child care” trend nationally on Twitter, and drew the public support of prominent policymakers like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Patty Murray, and Rep. Lois Frankel who elevated our messaging and the voices of child care providers.
I’m reflecting on everything that brought us to this point. Community Change has been working with our cohort of grassroots child care partners for the past eight years, winning transformational campaigns like New Mexico’s constitutional amendment that will guarantee access to child care in the state. More recently, we started organizing parents and providers directly through our Childcare Changemakers base-building project that creates a political home for people our partners can’t reach. With our partners and Changemakers, we sharpened our political analysis and developed our tactics to bring more attention to our movement’s demands.
Media moments like this one help to change the narrative. They help us elevate the people carrying our families through this crisis — most of whom are women of color. The fact that we were able to make such a splash on May 8 is due to the slow, deliberate work over many years to strengthen and build our child care base.
I am so inspired by what we’ve accomplished together so far. But I also know that this movement is more than one day of action or one round of media coverage. The Day Without Child Care represents a peak — maybe even an inflection point — in the ongoing fight for child care justice for our children, our families, and our workers.
Alongside our partners and allies, Community Change will keep pushing for the system that our parents and providers deserve. We will keep working to elevate this issue as a political imperative, making child care as important for politicians’ careers as it is for parents’. And we will continue to center the experiences of our leaders who will forge the path forward.
A NEW CHAPTER FOR THE FAIR IMMIGRATION REFORM MOVEMENT
After 20 years building and supporting the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), Community Change and the FIRM member organizations have decided to pursue a new mode of partnership. Beginning in October, Community Change will no longer house the FIRM network. This decision is the culmination of a joint year-long strategic planning process that explored the best structures to advance our shared goal of winning justice and freedom for immigrant communities.
While FIRM and Community Change have agreed that Community Change will no longer staff the network, we intend to continue to work together on immigration and other projects. Community Change and FIRM organizations are united in our commitment to supporting a smooth transition into the network’s next chapter, which will be determined by the executive directors of FIRM organizations through a process that they will lead.
The Fair Immigration Reform Movement was born in 2004, created by the Immigrant Organizing Committee of the National Campaign for Jobs and Income Support, which was staffed and coordinated by the then-Center for Community Change. FIRM has played a critical role in the immigration movement since then. Together, we helped create a robust and diverse field for the movement, we built power for immigrant communities in the states and at the federal level, and we invested in and grew the capacity of immigrants to lead the fights that shape their lives. FIRM and Community Change have been at the center of four major national campaigns for citizenship, and FIRM organizations have won countless victories at the local and state levels that improved the lives of immigrant families and communities across the country. This important work will continue in new formations.
A new partnership for our organizations will allow us to build the power we need to win for our communities. We are proud of what we built together and excited to write the next chapter of the struggle.
DEFEND BLACK VOTERS IS KEEPING UP THE PRESSURE
Leading up to last year’s midterm elections, we launched Defend Black Voters (DBV) — a coalition of five Black-led organizations anchored by Community Change Action that organized to protect voting rights and keep corporations accountable to Michiganders. Today, the coalition is still holding corporations accountable — starting with Detroit’s utility provider, DTE.
In late April, Community Change Action Co-President Dorian Warren moderated an investor webinar for DTE shareholders. We aimed to further expose directors’ political spending and pass a shareholder proposal on lobbying transparency, which was submitted by SEIU Master Trust. DBV Co-Chair and Executive Director of MOSES Action Ponsella Hardaway, along with a directly impacted member of Mothering Justice Action Fund and an assortment of other labor and energy experts, spoke at the meeting.
Then, in early May, DBV held a rally with U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib the morning before the company’s shareholder meeting to ramp up the pressure on DTE shareholders and their proposed rate hikes. We are waiting to hear back from DTE on the results of their vote.
#PUTTINGTENANTSFIRST HOUSING TOUR BRINGS THE TABLE OF POWER TO LEADERS
The 2023 Put Tenants First #HousingJustice Tour concluded powerfully this month with community leaders and organizers from 12 states meeting with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marsha Fudge in Washington, D.C. Driven by Community Change, Detroit People’s Platform, Freedom BLOC, RAP, ROC, ROHLA, and RUN, the Tour invited HUD officials to come to Lafayette, Lousiana, Cottage Grove, Oregon, and Akron, Ohio, to learn about the impact of current HUD policies on people’s lives, and to hear actionable solutions on which HUD has the authority to act.
The Tour focused on three policy demands for immediate HUD action that would advance housing justice nationally: Push local and state governments to end the criminalization of people experiencing homelessness, enforce HUD health and safety standards within all HUD subsidized homes, and support and expand tenant organizing with protections against retaliation for all HUD subsidized families. While HUD did not meaningfully respond to the demands around landlord accountability and ending the criminalization of homelessness, at the meeting HUD announced $10 million in new funding to support tenant capacity building and organizing in HUD subsidized properties. Also, a representative from the White House Domestic Policy Council who attended the meeting committed to a future meeting with our group to discuss actions the White House can take to advance tenants rights and housing justice in the United States.
While in DC, participants also held 16 meetings with their Members of Congress and held a rally and action against the National Apartment Association, which included street theater and a second-line band parade. The 2023 Put Tenants First Grassroots tour has reignited the flame inside many grassroots leaders to build collective power to fight for housing justice nationally! More than 150 tenant leaders and community members contributed to the Tour’s success.
DEBT CEILING VIDEO
The past few years have been tough for so many of us, but they’ve also shown us the power we have when we come together. The fight over the debt ceiling isn’t just DC politics — it threatens the programs our families need. Check out some ways to talk about it here.
POWER 50 IS ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS UNTIL MAY 31ST
Join the 2023-2024 Power 50 cohort! Community Change is looking for people who identify as indigenous women and/or women of color and who are on the staff of our current partner organizations. Fellows are already exercising their leadership, organizing, and management skills, and Power 50 offers the deep grounding, tools, practices, political analysis, and relationships they need to stay the course of their convictions and lead boldly in a complex world.
THE TAKEAWAY: DAY WITHOUT CHILD CARE WITH DORIAN WARREN
On May 8th, 2023, as Community Change Action launched its second-annual “Day Without Child Care,” Dorian Warren joined The Takeaway to share how thousands of parents, families, and providers came together to push for equitable access to child care.
LORELLA PRAELI SPEAKS ON INSTITUTIONAL RACISM
This month, Co-President Lorella Praeli joined a Brookings Institution panel hosted by John Legend on the ways to uplift communities impacted by institutional racism. Joining them were panelists Camille Busette, Andre Perry, LA Civil Rights, and Parity Homes.
Thank you for reading about what’s happening at Community Change in the month of May. See you next month!