Carolyn Carpenter is a Family Child Care Provider from Oakland, CA. She is also a member of SEIU Local 521 and a proud mom of four children.

We did it! We are one step closer to creating an early care and education system where all children have access, parents have the support they need, and educators can make a living wage, have benefits, and support for professional development without increasing costs for parents.

This day didn’t seem possible 3 years ago when providers got on the phone and met in each others’ houses and churches to figure out how we could possibly keep our child cares open and meet the higher minimum wage rates that our assistants earned and deserved, while we ourselves earned far less.

Our persistence in talking to one another, building relationships with parents who faced similar struggles supporting their families, and with elected officials who saw it was important to address this issue to keep our communities livable for people like me and you is what led us to this moment.

The board of supervisors 5-0 vote sent a clear signal that we are on the verge of a powerful moment here in Alameda County. The entire board of supervisors understand how under-resourced child care is—and that unless we pay attention to child care workers, as well as children and parents—we won’t move forward.

None of this would have been possible without all of the hard work done by the people in this room and the hundreds of others across Alameda County. For the past several months, we have been working tirelessly to shift the public’s attention to addressing low pay among child care providers and expanding affordable child care access for all.

More than 100 early educators and families attended the countywide Raising Alameda listening sessions and other meetings specifically for early educator input on the draft County proposal on how to prioritize new funding for early education services.

From now until June 5th, we will be further developing the ballot initiatives wage proposal to make sure it gets all early educators to at least $15/hr. We will continue to keep engaging in the dialogue that’s been created in this initiative to make sure these services best meet our communities’ needs.

We are ready to hit the pavement with you all to walk precincts, make calls and continue having these important conversations to win voter support for this measure in June. We are ready to roll up our sleeves to make sure these important changes happen and we can deliver these groundbreaking new services.

Join us for out big campaign kick-off event on Saturday, March 24th for the Alameda County Ballot Measure for Child Care and Early Education.

From 10:00AM to 11:30AM our coalition partners will be joining at the San Leandro Boys & Girls Club sharing more about what our initiative will do to address the child care crisis in Alameda County. Talk to other providers and me afterwards–or be sure you sign-up on your way out — to get more details on our kick-off event, updates on our initiative and how to volunteer so we take this over the finish line!