I am not a parent or an Early Childhood Educator, yet I am an unequivocal advocate for the $10 a Day Child Care Plan which would create a system of affordable, accessible, inclusive, quality child care for children and families in BC.
I started volunteering with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC from a young age because I knew that child care was special to me and helped my parents. My parents raised me in a beautiful community, and a big part of this community was quality child care and dedicated Early Childhood Educators.
As I grew up, I developed a broader understanding of child care and its role in social justice. I learned about child care as necessary to advancing the rights of women and children. I learned about how access to child care supports families to lift out of poverty. I learned about how community-driven, culturally appropriate, learning- and development-focused care for aboriginal children helps to address early childhood inequalities. I learned about living wages in BC and was able to compare them to the ECE average wages. I became a proud Auntie and saw the stress that finding and paying for child care has on my friends, family, and coworkers. My passion for access to child care and fair compensation for ECEs continues to grow.
At the Early Childhood Educators of BC conference this Spring, I presented with other young advocates about what we do and why we do it. Our aim was to have a conversation with ECEs in the room and help them see themselves as advocates, knowing full well that the work they do in the classroom and beyond is incredible advocacy for children and families. I was thankful for an opportunity to share my experience as an ECE ally. When I asked who they saw as their allies, what I felt in the room was a sense that we're not alone. We all could see the power in knowing who is on our team, who supports us, who wants to see us succeed and be recognized. I've included a photo of the notes that came from this brainstorm which I hope inspires and encourages you as it did for me.
In the fall, I will begin my law degree and where I intend to study how legal processes and policy can uphold human rights and promote social justice. As a student, as a future lawyer, as an Auntie, as a friend -- I am and always will be an ECE ally. And what an exciting time to be one as we move ever closer to implementing the $10 a Day Child Care Plan!