Our Best Days Still Lie AheadJune 9, 2021
By Jennifer A.
SmartSitting Diversity and Inclusion Council BIPOC Advocate
An introduction to the BIPOC Advocate’s mission
As Smartsitting’s new BIPOC advocate, my mission is to share racial equity tools for the childcare workplace. I will also touch upon how our political climate and childcare system affect one another. Having assisted families of different racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, my perspective comes from a place of the inclusion of all, is not the exclusion of one. Underrepresented voices have endured so much for too long, but I know positive change is possible. Leveling the playing field requires not only restructuring who the powers that be are. It also requires us to reconsider the people supporting one another through open communication.
What is the government doing to level the playing field?
President Joe Biden continues to echo, “Our best days still lie ahead”. With this in mind, the Biden-Harris Administration intends to pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all. This includes people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality. They will also address and reverse discriminatory practices in the housing, justice, health and human service systems.
With the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act in early March, $39 billion will go towards funding child-care providers, through programs such as the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program (CCDBG). An additional $1 billion has been allocated to the Head Start program. The fund will help pay for rent, utilities and payroll. It will also cover pandemic-associated costs, such as protective equipment, ventilation supplies, modifications to the physical environment and smaller class sizes. The plan also temporarily expands the child tax credit to $3,000 or $3,600 per child for most families. This credit is refundable.
How can families learn about racial equity?
In a time of movements like Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate, what can families do about racial equity while these directives unfold? There’s proof that traditional education isn’t enough. Progressive education needs to be exercised too, and it starts with parents. Teaching your children about race and culture allows your child to not only understand themselves, but empathize with others. Picture cards, audiobooks, and board games are great starter tools. You can also visit Change For Kids to see which of their programs are available online. More global-based ideas are PenPal programs and 89 Authentic Recipes from Around the World.
These examples provide opportunities for kids to build self-awareness and encouragement to exchange of ideas and cultural differences with other kids. Whether you’re a parent or child caregiver, providing the proper tools and resources will steer your children towards a more well-rounded future. For information on long-term diversity and inclusion initiatives, visit the Center for Educational Equity and NYS PTA & National PTA have Diversity and Inclusion Committees.
The SmartSitting Diversity and Inclusion Council is part of our ongoing efforts to build inclusive spaces in the SmartSitting network. We invite you to share your thoughts, ideas, and questions for the council on Facebook or Instagram. Want to get more diversity and inclusion resources sent right to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter!