On Friday, July 27, children, parents and community advocates rallied their energy to support a strong start for all babies at Washington state’s first Strolling Thunder event. In coordination with national-level policy organization ZERO TO THREE, we hosted this event to inspire lawmakers to put the early success of our little ones at the forefront of their policy, program and budget decisions.
Together, we spent the morning calling on policymakers to Think Babies™ for stronger families, vibrant communities, and a more prosperous future.
Held at the Bethaday Community Learning Space in White Center, passionate community members came out for a fun-filled day including family activities, an introduction to our work with the ZERO TO THREE Think Babies™ campaign and an energizing social stroll around Lakewood Park.
Families and community members enjoyed a #StrollingThunder photo booth area and added to our crowd-sourced advocacy banner, which we will hand-deliver to Governor Jay Inslee. Kristine Sogn, a graphic recorder, captured the spirit of the morning in a mural that encompasses Children’s Alliance policy areas and displays our community’s commitment to children.
Eventgoers also heard an uplifting speech by special guest Halisi, a mother of five, a spoken word artist and community advocate. Halisi spoke about the importance of convening our energies to make an impact for children and families.
“We use energy to describe how things behave,” she told the crowd. “But do you know that if you apply force to an object you can change its energy?”
“And so today we stand here as the force that can change the energy of our society. By you choosing to come here today, you are saying that you are going to apply your energy… you're going to apply that force to these things that make children's lives better.”
“What makes children’s lives better?” Halisi asked the crowd of cheering advocates. “Affordable child care makes a child's life better.”
Halisi is certainly right as we know that that learning begins at birth with every interaction, every experience—especially in the first three years of life—shaping the future of a child. That’s why it’s imperative for all babies to have the strongest learning experiences possible through high-quality child care and early learning opportunities.
New KIDS COUNT data show that there are a number of steps that can be taken by state lawmakers to boost children’s success in school and in life. Strolling Thunder provided an authentic and accessible look at what Children’s Alliance is doing to further this work in Washington. With the curiosity of supporters piqued and many eager to get involved, we are excited to turn the momentum from Strolling Thunder into real action for Washington state’s youngest.
Our work with ZERO TO THREE will continue to emphasize the need for family-centric policy solutions that put babies and children first. We’re planning another Strolling Thunder event for March 2019; meanwhile, there are other ways to apply your energy to this work now.