We Come Together as One to Create Loving and Safe Communities

Two mom and daughter pairs, each pair of a different race and skin tone, sit on the floor and dance in front of a table of blocks.

Statement from First 5 Contra Costa Executive Director  

To our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander friends, neighbors and families: we stand with you in your grief, rage, and calls for justice in response to the anti-Asian violence we’ve recently witnessed, from Atlanta to closer to home in San Francisco and Oakland. Many of us and the families we serve see ourselves and the people we love in the lives that racism and white supremacy have stolen. On behalf of First 5 Contra Costa, I extend our support and solidarity to all those who have experienced loss and trauma as a result of the ongoing attacks on communities of color in this country.

It takes only looking at the past few weeks to recognize the pervasive systemic racism we’re up against, whether it is the shootings of six Asian American women in Atlanta and the mounting violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, the 1-year anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s murder, or the deplorable outlook thousands of migrant children and families currently face at the southern border.

These events are all part of a system of white supremacy and oppression, whose chief aim is to strip us of our humanity, divide us, and designate some of us as less worthy of safety, a home, dignity, and care. This aim is 1) morally wrong and 2) a threat to our vision that all of Contra Costa’s children are healthy, ready to learn, and supported in safe, nurturing families and communities.

This moment calls on us to heighten our efforts to root out systems of oppression and dismantle them, and to join, shoulder to shoulder with families and our partners, in working toward policies, systems, and services rooted in justice and a celebration of our common humanity. Only by acknowledging our shared struggles and working together will we build a world where all children thrive.

In solidarity,

Ruth Fernández, Ed.D.
Executive Director
First 5 Contra Costa

 

 

How to Talk to Children About Racism

  • The Conscious Kid, an education, research, and policy organization dedicated to equity and promoting healthy racial identity development in youth: https://www.theconsciouskid.org/
  • Embrace Race, raising a generation of children who are thoughtful, informed, and brave about race: https://www.embracerace.org/
  • Raising Race Conscious Children, a resource for talking about race with young children: http://www.raceconscious.org/
  • Teaching Tolerance, to help teachers and schools educate children and youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy: https://www.tolerance.org/

 

How to Find Support with Trauma and Mental Health

  • BEAM, to remove the barriers that Black people experience getting access to or staying connected with emotional health care and healing. https://www.beam.community
  • Contra Costa Crisis Center, if you are in need of someone to speak with or listen, dial 2-1-1 to access the Contra Costa Crisis Center, available 24-7 to help people through crisis, and provide or connect them with culturally relevant resources in the community. https://www.crisis-center.org/
  • RYSE Center, a safe space building youth power for young people to love, heal, and lead. https://rysecenter.org/

 

Additional Ways to Support Our Community

First 5 Contra Costa’s Family Resource Centers Awarded
 over $50,000

First 5 Contra Costa’s Family Resource Centers Awarded over $50,000 to Address Family Needs During COVID-19 Crisis

First 5 Contra Costa in partnership with the Child Abuse Prevention Council (CAPC) and Scotts Valley Tribal TANF applied for and was awarded a $52,400 grant from the California Family Resource Association (CFRA) to provide emergency relief to Contra Costa families. In April, Governor Newsom announced $42 million in new investments to protect young children at heightened risk for abuse and mistreatment due to COVID-19, with $3 million allocated specifically for Family Resource Centers (FRC) to distribute to families they serve.

“We are excited to have this valuable resource for families and to be working with our local community partners—the Child Abuse Prevention Council and Scotts Valley Tribal TANF—to extend our reach beyond the families we serve at the First 5 Centers.”said Lisa Korb, Family Support Program Officer at First 5 Contra Costa.

The grant, released from the Office of Child Abuse Prevention, named FRCs as the recipient of the grant and named foster and tribal families as the priority populations to be served. First 5 Contra Costa funds a network of six FRCs operated by non-profits Aspiranet and Bay Area Community Resources. The First 5 Centers (FRC) support families to help parents raise healthy and happy children, and connect families to community resources.

In collaboration, First 5 Contra Costa, the Child Abuse Prevention Council, and Scotts Valley Tribal TANF will provide gift cards (gas and food), children’s books, and other needed supplies like diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies to approximately 1,000 families who have experienced a loss of income as a result of COVID-19.

“We are grateful to our family-strengthening partners to be able to provide critical support to our community during these unprecedented times.”said Carol Carrillo, MSW, Executive Director at the Child Abuse Prevention Council (CAPC). The CAPC strives to prevent child abuse in Contra Costa County by raising awareness through educational programs, trainings, parent education, support, and advocacy.

Scotts Valley Tribal TANF provides culturally relevant social services, with the goal of encouraging the formation and maintenance of healthy and self-sufficient Native American families. “The resilience of our community continues to be strong. This funding and local partnership will help SVTT provide additional support, resources, and services to Native American families living in Contra Costa County.” said Sharon James-Tiger, Executive Director at Scotts Valley Tribal TANF.

http://www.svtribaltanf.org

How the Public Charge Ruling Adversely Affects Our Families and Young Children

As an organization dedicated to the well-being of all families and their young children, we were appalled by the “public charge” ruling that adversely affects immigrant families in our community. We are deeply concerned that this rule expansion will inhibit families from applying for programs and services—or stop receiving them entirely—even if they are eligible or needed.

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled (5-4) to allow the Trump administration to move forward with the public charge restriction unveiled last August, which disproportionately targets immigrant families by making it more difficult for immigrants seeking to come or those trying to obtain lawful permanent statuses in the United States.

This decision will have life-altering implications for families needing access to services for themselves, or their children. By depriving immigrants of basic needs such as food and housing, the expansion continues to deepen and amplify the climate of fear and deprivation that has become prevalent within immigrant communities and communities of color. It will continue to threaten the health, nutrition, housing, and well-being of young children everywhere.

“This is yet another inequitable attack on our families. The ramifications of the Supreme Court’s ruling will have a chilling effect on our community’s health and education as families continue to live in fear, and chose to seclude and withdraw from essential health services,” said Dr. Ruth Fernández, Executive Director of First 5 Contra Costa.

First 5 Contra Costa believes that it is our shared responsibility to ensure the safety and healthy development of all children. We will continue our unwavering commitment to support, advocate, and partner with immigrant families, continue to fight for equitable access to needed services, and strive towards a future in which every family can thrive.

Although the rule is limited to individuals actively applying for lawful permanent status in the United States, not their families or children, we anticipate a continued wave of drop-off in services that has been reported nation-wide since last fall.

“This will continue to have a direct and devastating impact on the lives of our most vulnerable children and their families. It is a dehumanizing act impacting the wellbeing of immigrant families who contribute greatly to our communities,” added Dr. Ruth Fernández. “As leaders in Contra Costa County, and as a community, we must continue to speak up, advocate, and take action against this injustice.” 

In an effort to combat the fear and misinformation, we encourage our communities, our county, and our state to join us in our commitment and movement for united, safe and loving communities.

For more information on First 5 Contra Costa’s efforts towards a safer, healthier, and more equitable Contra Costa County, please reach out to our Community Engagement and Advocacy Program: http://www.first5coco.org/funded-programs/regional-groupsparent-advocacy/

To learn more about how Northern California communities are impacted by the public charge rule, below is a partial list of organizations from the California Immigrant Policy Center that can help answer questions and concerns:

For additional immigration services providers:
bit.ly/immigrationhelp

For additional information and resources:
https://protectingimmigrantfamilies.org/