Last week’s Voices for Children Luncheon brought more than 400 supporters together to stand strong for kids and fuel their futures. Executive Director Paola Maranan delivered a powerful speech reminding us that all children deserve health and success, and that the future of our nation hinges on the success of children of color. Here are some highlights:
As harmful as the budget discussions have been for kids, there is another discussion that is even worse.
From our state capital to the nation’s capital, some policymakers are doing something other than just talking about how to solve a budget crisis. They are pushing conversations designed to reshape and redefine what we all do, through government, to support children.
This conversation is not a new one, and it is about more than just the numbers. It is ultimately about what — and who — we value.
It’s about which children deserve our support - and which do not.
In statehouses across the country, bills and budgets have aimed to define some children as less deserving, to do more than simply cut their benefits along with everyone else’s. Instead, there are efforts to declare some children as ineligible for our protection. Immigrant children have been the focus almost every time.
In this conversation, budget struggles are not due to insufficient revenue brought on by drastically hard times. In this conversation, our budgets are in trouble because we are spending too much money on the wrong folks: children devalued because of where they were born, the language they speak or the choices their parents may have made.
Many are working to get us to turn our back on what we know works for kids, to fundamentally change our commitment to them. But we can spot the difference between a budgetary conversation and a political agenda. We know the difference between tough choices and political opportunism. And we are lucky to be able to rely on legislative leaders like the ones in this room to know the same.
Child advocates must step into the center of this conversation for two reasons: first, of course, because the devaluing of any child is morally abhorrent. Second, because to follow such a path would guarantee our destruction as a leader in the world economy.
Our fates are tied to the brown children — too many of whom are poor and poorly served — who will soon make up more than half our population.
We know that investing in all our children is investing in ourselves and in the prosperity of our communities. We have the power to get that one childhood right for all of our children.
Together we can care for kids who need it, we can fight for equity, and we can ensure kids have the childhoods they can build their lives upon.
And it all starts with that one simple question: is it good for kids?
View photos from this year’s Voices for Children Luncheon.
*Photo above and remaining event photos by Tegra Stone Nuess.