On October 9, California family child care providers from SEIU Local 99 and SEIU Local 521 testified at Long Beach City College to share the importance of unions for all at the final stop of California’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education’s tour. The goal of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education is to identify ways to create a more sustainable early learning system, find ways to improve the state’s early learning system and realize those improvements through policy and budget decisions.

Prior to the hearing, fellow Local 99 Family Child Care Provider Ramona Duran gave the commissioners a tour of her family daycare. Commissioners met some of the children in her care and several parents. “I believe I was called to love and care for children. No matter how many milestones I’ve witnessed, I never tire of seeing a child’s eyes light up when they learn their colors or ABCs,” said Duran. “We need a child care system that lifts all families out of poverty – both the families we serve and the families who do the serving like mine.”

During the hearing, I was able to provide my testimony about the importance of early learning. I shared with the commission my concerns that if the conditions of family child care providers in the early learning and care community are not improved, the children will be the ones who ultimately suffer.

I believe it’s time for a new vision for California’s children. Thankfully, family child care providers and parents know what that solution looks like. The solution is simple: A strong union. I asked the commission to join us as we lead the way to help us build a child care system that leaves no one behind, not our children, not our parents, and not family child care providers like myself. The commission includes our fellow early child care leader and Local 99 officer, Tonia McMillian, and Assembly Members, Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park).