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

Residents to Design the Park of their Dreams


Parent leaders with Contra Costa County Regional Groups are organizing virtual workshops—to be conducted over Zoom—to make final design decisions on major renovations to local parks. This parent-led community design workshop is a crucial step in ensuring the transformation of community parks to reflect the unique identities, needs, and desires of neighborhood residents. It’s a natural outgrowth of the community-driven approach this effort has taken since the beginning. In 2018 the regional groups led participatory community park needs assessments that resulted in the identification of priority parks across the county, one of which was DeAnza Park, in addition to Boorman Park in Richmond.

“These projects are an example of what we can accomplish together when we work in partnership across our organizations and follow the leadership of residents. Children and families will benefit from this new park for generations to come”, said Rhea Elina Laughlin with First 5 Contra Costa.

Public parks are essential spaces for promoting community health, and in particular, physical activity, outdoor play, and mental well-being among families with young children. Early childhood is a critical time in the life course for promoting health and preventing chronic disease. With improved access to quality parks in their own neighborhoods, the youngest children of Contra Costa County are more likely to benefit from opportunities for a healthy start to their lives.

As public health officials continue to advise that people gather outdoors to avoid exposure to COVID-19, safe and culturally relevant outdoor spaces are more critical than ever. This is particularly the case for communities where most families live in multi-family or apartment housing and have little access to private outdoor space. Parks are not just physical spaces for exercise and play, but communal spaces for connecting with friends and family during this difficult time.


Saturday, September 12
11am – 2pm

Boorman Park Design Party

Click here to RSVP

Parent leaders with the West County Regional Group (WCRG)—in partnership with First 5 Contra Costa, the City of Richmond, and Healthy & Active Before 5—and the residents near Boorman Park in Richmond will come together to make final design decisions on major renovations to the park. Vallier Design Associates have prepared design options for two age-appropriate playgrounds, a fitness zone, family restrooms, and a community gathering and education space.

“We are thrilled for this Boorman Park transformation! Our children can’t wait to play in the brand new park that we helped to create for our community”, said Maria Isabel Barrera with the West County Regional Group.

The Boorman Park renovations are made possible by a $4.16M grant from the Parks, Recreation, and Water Bond Act (Prop 68) awarded to the City of Richmond. Funding was secured in part by the grassroots advocacy of parents in the First 5-sponsored West County Regional Group and the leadership of the City of Richmond.



Saturday, September 26
10am – 12pm

DeAnza Park Community Design Workshop

RSVP link (TBA)

Parent leaders with the East County Regional Group (ECRG)—in partnership with First 5 Contra Costa and Healthy & Active Before 5—and the residents near DeAnza Park in Pittsburg will come together to make final design decisions on major renovations to the park. DeAnza Park residents will have the opportunity to weigh in on the proposed design for fitness equipment and a repaved walking path.

The community design workshop is just one facet of a community driven process for creating new and equitable parks in critically underserved communities. From the very beginning, community advocates have been central to these projects. The DeAnza park renovations are the result of combined support from a foundation grant, the City of Pittsburg, and First 5 Contra Costa. Funding was secured in part by the grassroots advocacy of parents in the First 5-sponsored East County Regional Group.

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Regional Groups are parent advocacy groups of residents working to make communities healthier, safer, and more equitable for young children and families. Three groups exist in Contra Costa County and work in partnership with the First 5 Contra Costa Community Engagement and Advocacy Program: East County Regional Group (ECRG), West County Regional Group (WCRG), and Central County Regional Group (CCRG).