Rise Parents’ Platform Updates: Reflections on Our First Year of Organizing

As Rise moves into our second year of organizing, we are reflecting on our successes and developing plans for next steps in advocating for our Parents’ Platform. This year, we joined the efforts of a variety of organizations that have been leading the movement for affordable and accessible child care and equitable pay for child care providers. Rise brought the perspective of parents impacted by ACS into the movement for universal child care, recognizing lack of child care as a family policing issue and a driver of “neglect” allegations. Our organizing team spoke at a press conference, attended rallies and tabled at events. Rise also raised awareness through our publications, parent stories and social media and letter-writing campaign. 

We are excited about the ways we deepened parent engagement and all we accomplished together in community during this program year:

  • Completed a parent-led participatory action research project, published the report, An Unavoidable System, and led a webinar on our findings and recommendations
  • Organized eight community report-back sessions to discuss report findings and explore parents’ advocacy priorities
  • Identified Rise’s first-ever policy priorities: establishing affordable, accessible child care unaffiliated with ACS; addressing mandated reporting and replacing it with support; and securing investments in community-led mental health supports, including peer support
  • Conducted a survey about child care, engaging 60 NYC parents/caregivers, to inform our advocacy strategies 
  • Hosted a Virtual Town Hall to share and discuss survey findings and calls to action
  • Organized a letter writing campaign to advocate for New York City Council’s General Welfare Committee to prioritize affordable, accessible child care without ACS oversight
  • Held meetings with four City Council Members to introduce our recommendations
  • Successfully advocated for NYC to prioritize 17 low-income Black and brown districts in child care voucher distribution

As we reflected on the past year, one team member shared: “I feel the work I do with Rise helps us get closer to our mission by sending a message that we will fight for what we need, want and deserve. We will not be bullied and pushed down when we use our voice—because that is our power.”

>> Read our Parents’ Platform 2022 Program Report

Letter Writing Campaign Update

Rise completed our first letter writing campaign earlier this month, which included hosting a virtual space to gather and send email letters to the New York City Council’s General Welfare Committee together in community. The organizing team is following up with parents who heard back from Council Members and is working to schedule additional meetings to share our recommendations with Committee members. We thank everyone who participated in the campaign and hope you will join us for future actions! 

Prioritization in Child Care Voucher Distribution

The recently-released blueprint for child care and early childhood education in NYC announced that ACS will prioritize 17 low-income Black and brown districts in the distribution of child care vouchers. Rise will continue to meet with New York City Council Members and to push NYC’s elected leaders to disentangle child care vouchers from ACS oversight and control. While we are disappointed that ACS will continue to lead child care voucher distribution, we have been calling for the prioritization of communities most impacted by ACS in expanding access to child care—this is a win! Rise plans to do outreach and engagement activities in these neighborhoods so families have access to information about child care, their rights, available resources and support and how to get involved in organizing and community care efforts. 

Sharing our Gratitude

We are so appreciative of all the organizations and individuals that brought Rise into the existing movement, shared and built power with parents impacted by the family policing system and informed the development of our organizing strategies. We extend our thanks to Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), Empire State Campaign for Child Care, Project Hajra, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, The Bronx Defenders, Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, The Advocacy Institute, Casey Family Programs, Center for Family Representation, Center for Family Life, Movement for Family Power and the Healing-Centered Schools Working Group for your support and partnership. 

We are also thrilled that so many new parents—including Parent Advocates—and community members joined our events and shared their time, experiences and solutions through surveys, community conversations, report-backs and events throughout the year. 

As Rise developed our Parents’ Platform, our Parent Organizers continued to build their skills by attending trainings, including: IGNITE Women’s Leadership Conference on political leadership, empowerment and community building; The Advocacy Institute’s Virtual Summer Camp on developing a state legislative advocacy campaign; Leading Change Network’s introduction to community organizing and the public narrative framework; AQE’s lobbying training and workshops by Krystal Portalatin, trainer and consultant.

NYC-Based Child Care Coalition: Kick-Off Meeting 9/13

Rise is eager to continue to build relationships with other community-based organizations and with community members. While continuing to support the statewide movement for universal child care, Rise is also organizing an NYC-focused coalition to build collective power and advocate around city-level decisions and investments. We invite all organizations interested in creating accessible, affordable child care in New York City to join us.

Our first coalition meeting will take place by Zoom on Tuesday, September 13, 1:00-2:00 pm. Please email Rise Policy Coordinator Noshin Hoque at noshin@risemagazine.org with questions and/or to receive the link to join the meeting.

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