What have you and you’re agency done to improve school readiness within your county?

My initiative was born out of my own national fellowship for equity with the Equity Leaders Action Network. What I am looking for is, how I can have a small part in interrupting social injustice and racial inequity? I doing so, I was able to bring in some diverse colleagues around our County. They then helped to develop a program that would focus on emerging leaders. What we know in Alameda County is that we’re very diverse. 67 percent of our county is non-white, however when you look at the leadership of that county, less than 40 percent are non-white. This is a problem impacting children, families, and the policies that might be implemented from the Eurocentric viewpoint.

Our program was an 18-month project to bring and lift up emerging leaders who have been passed over for promotions. We educate them about leadership, their own racial identities and how our lens affects the way we see the world. We aim to teach them concrete and administrative skills that would allow them to move into positions of authority. Decision-making leaders come from all areas and roles, but if they are going to make policy decisions, they need to have appropriate skills and support from our County.

What does First 5 mean to you?

Coming to this conference means quite a bit to me. I have worked with First 5 in the past for several years, and now they’re on their 20th anniversary. So for me it means coming together and seeing the growth of First 5. We get to come together and see how everyone in the room has been impacted. What’s important at this Summit, is that we’re bringing all sorts of people together focused on early childhood and focused on making impacts for children and families. At this Summit, we get to hear from experts in the field and we have opportunities to network with others across different counties, learn from them, take the best of what they have to offer, and create something that really can impact our own communities.

First 5 Alameda