At First 5 Contra Costa, our work is grounded in our commitment to diversity and inclusion, equity, cultural humility, and community partnerships. These core values drive our work and our conviction that Black Lives Matter.
Over the weekend, our communities exploded in grief, pain, and outrage over the horrifying killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, and the callous way a white woman used her privilege to weaponize the police against a black man in New York. Both of these events are compounded by the COVID-19 global pandemic, which has placed a disproportionate burden of illness, death and hardship on racial and ethnic minority groups.
Racism has a deep and lasting impact that terrorizes and traumatizes children and families, creating a sense of hopelessness and despair. Our community should not have to fear that they will be treated differently and harmed because of the color of their skin.
Together, we must dismantle and eradicate cultural, systemic and institutional racism. Every African-American child has the human right to grow up in a just society with access to quality education, equitable health care, and a criminal justice system that is fair.
All leaders must stand in solidarity with the African-American community. Those with influence and privilege must use it to address inequitable systems and hold one another accountable.
In this moment, all of us are called to live our values, to stand together, to work together, and to be courageous together, because all young children deserve better.
First 5 Contra Costa envisions that all young children will be healthy, ready to learn, and supported in safe, nurturing families and communities. We are committed to creating a space with community to listen, to learn, and to act in support of our children. Together we can create the change we want to see.
I stand for love and justice for myself and for all others.
Ruth Fernández, Ed.D.
First 5 Contra Costa
Resources that can be shared widely with community:
How to Talk to Children About Racism
- 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
- Zero To Three, Racism and Violence: Using Your Power as a Parent to Support Children Aged Two to Five. https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/1598-racism-and-violence-using-your-power-as-a-parent-to-support-children-aged-two-to-five
- 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/
Additional Ways to Support Our Community
- Black Lives Matter, builds power to bring justice, healing, and freedom to Black people across the globe. https://blacklivesmatter.com/
- Change.org, to sign or start a petition: https://www.change.org/
- Color of Change, to help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us: https://colorofchange.org/
- Moms Rising, where moms and people who love them go to change the world: https://www.momsrising.org/
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:
- California Immigrant Policy Center
- Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN)
- East Bay Community Law Center
- Immigration Institute of the Bay Area
415 538-8100 ext. 206
- Safe Passages
For additional immigration services providers:
For additional information and resources: