by René Murry
Dear YDEKC Community,
We are in a period of deep turmoil and concern. However, I would like to draw you to an article in the Seattle Times, where several of our leaders spoke to our current issues. An idea that rose to the top for me was that 2020 was a year of questions and perhaps 2021 can be the year we find our answers.
In this new year, one of our answers to the concerns raised in 2020 is to bring to light the needs and the strengths of youth in the community. We must amplify and support our Black, Indigenous and People of Color in community. We must inspire and invest in our youth. It is time for us to use our voices to elevate youth development programs and the work you do that supports children, youth, and families.
We have evidence that ADVOCACY works:
- $9.4 million in funds were identified from the CARES Act to be distributed to Youth Development programs in Washington state through the Department of Commerce. This is a WIN because Youth Development was recognized as a system of supports that deserved funding during this crucial time for our society.
- The WA State Legislative Committee that addresses issues with children and families has changed its name and Youth Development is listed!
The House Children, Youth & Families Committee considers a broad array of issues and services affecting children and families, including early learning; child care; child and youth development; child welfare services; children’s mental health; at-risk and homeless youth; and juvenile justice.
YDEKC has been a leadership partner in creating a new Youth Development Strategy Table for the state of Washington and the website is now launched! I encourage you to join this table and participate in advocacy at the State level.
|The legislative session began January 11, and our WA State Youth Development Advocacy Week will be Feb 8-12, with a virtual rally on February 9 from 3:00-4:00 PM. I am asking you to join us for the rally and to plan to connect with a lawmaker via social media or a meeting with your Representative or Senator.|
|Please plan to attend the virtual rally and encourage your network to join! There will also be an Advocacy Training on January 21 from 1:00-3:00 PM to help support new and experienced advocates in preparation of the February 9 rally.|
February 9th is our opportunity to SPEAK UP at the State level for our programs and the benefits that come from serving youth and communities. For more ideas on how to take action on policy issues that matter to you, check out this excellent guide from Washington Nonprofits: Build A Movement!
Thank you for your work, and I look forward to joining you in Advocacy in 2021.