MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Fall River Forum
t is incumbent upon the Community Action network to bring people together and talk about poverty, inequality and how to create opportunities. MA is one of the most unequal states in the country. We must not accept inequity and we must work to make the economy work for everyone.
In October, together with
Citizens for Citizens
(Fall River) and
(New Bedford), we held a forum on poverty and opportunity and the critical issues we face on the South Coast.
Congressman Joe Kennedy
told us that "we must fight harder, we must put workers and American families first again". He pointed out that we need to come together to advocate for policies that work and demand systemic reforms, that we not only must come up with
must drive the
to implement them.
MA State Representative Patricia Haddad, who participated in a panel discussion about finding the way forward, told us to
"Agitate, Agitate, Agitate" and she promised to do the same. She encouraged us to t
ake part in important community conversations and push for change and accountability.
What are the takeaways?
- Education is the great equalizer and it starts at birth. We need to focus on birth to Kindergarten education and care - quality, accessibility, affordability, compensation and training of educators.
- Census 2020 is critical. We must do what we can to ensure everyone is counted. An accurate picture of who we are and key federal program funding (Title 1, Head Start, WIC and more) are at risk.
- We must increase awareness about the available programs and engage parents.
- Business needs to recognize the need to prepare children and make them good citizens. Business needs to be energized and involved in the community conversations.
- We must always ask who is NOT at the table and bring them to it.
In addition to Representative Haddad, our panel discussion included: moderator John Vasconcellos/Community Foundation of Southeastern MA, Nicholas Christ/Baycoast Bank, Ed Lambert/MA Business Alliance for Education, Kerri Denault/Parent & PACE Head Start Policy Council, Jill Fox/PACE Head Start Program Director, and Pam Wildenauer/CFC Head Start Program Director. We thank them all for their participation and the critical work they each do on a daily basis.