Social justice is at the heart of All Our Kin’s work; we believe that we change the future by changing what we teach the next generation. And at a time when racism, violence, and intimidation have a national platform, our work to foster empathy, compassion, and justice in our youngest children, and to inoculate against hate and fear, is more critical than ever. In recognition of this, we have embarked on a new equity initiative with the support of the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund: Building a Better World for Our Children. This project brings family child care providers and All Our Kin staff together to dream the reality we want for our children, our communities, and ourselves, and then co-create strategies to carry out this vision. Because we know that if we want change for our children, then the change must start with us.
That is why the first phase of the Building a Better World project focused on All Our Kin staff. During a two-day, deep-dive retreat, staff learned about the history of racism and its impact today, analyzed who we are as an organization and who we want to be, and reflected on our own individual biases and stories, all with the goal of better supporting each other and the providers, children, and families we serve. As a next step, we engaged forty family child care providers in anti-bias workshops with an emphasis on changing practice—embedding equity into every aspect of child care programs from interactions to curriculum. And finally, we created five short films to highlight the important work happening in family child care and elevate the diverse voices of our provider community.
In these short films, providers share, in their own words, what their work means to them. We knew that we needed a special way to share these powerful videos with our community, and honor the broader Building a Better World work. On Friday, January 26, we brought providers, staff, and stakeholders together for a celebration at the Bijou Theatre to culminate year one of Building a Better World for Our Children. We shared food and laughter with friends new and old, we danced the night away on the Bijou stage, and above all, we basked in an incredible sense of strength, hope, and community.
The evening included a short program, during which we premiered the five provider videos, and each featured provider spoke about the experience of being filmed and reflected on the critical importance of their work with children and families. Now, we are excited to share these videos with you:
Maria Carrillo • Pili’s Day Care, New Haven • Maria grew up in Peru
“My personal goal for each child is that they are happy. Preparing material so that they explore, so that they smile all day, so that they discover new things—this is my motivation.”
Doris Lopez • Doris Lopez Day Care, Stamford • Doris grew up in Colombia
“Home daycare is so much more than a babysitter. The children are learning just like they were going to school. I give all the best of me, all my love.”
Gilda Mecca • Teddy Bear Child Care, Fairfield • Gilda grew up in Stamford
“The person could make things whole, could make the person who was offended whole again by letting that person decide what they need to feel better. That’s what I use for my conflict resolution.”
Emily Mingia-Lewis • Mingalew Family Daycare, Bridgeport • Emily grew up in the Bronx
“It’s a chance to forget what’s going on in the world and focus on the natural life. Discovering new things, even though they’re things I already know, just looking at things through different eyes.”
Bernadette Ngoh • Trusted Care, West Haven • Bernadette grew up in Cameroon
“I try to understand what needs to be covered within this age period, and I follow the kids’ lead on what they are prepared to learn.”
As is evident in the films, there is so much to celebrate when it comes to the work happening in family child care and the superhero early childhood educators who make it all possible. Still, we know that this is only part of a long journey towards justice for all children, families, and providers. With continued support from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, we are planning for year two of Building a Better World. During this next phase, we will dig even deeper into issues of bias, racism and injustice, reflecting on our practices as an organization, developing new programming for staff and providers, and continuing to elevate the voices of our community through another round of video vignettes. We look forward to sharing this ongoing work with you, and thank our many partners who join us in creating a more just and equitable world for this and the next generation.
Thank you to our many partners and friends who made year one of Building a Better World possible:
- Cornelius Lee and Portia Newman from Education Pioneers, for facilitating All Our Kin’s staff retreat
- Wendy Simmons and Ingrid Canady from CT SERC for facilitating the provider workshops
- Travis Carbonella, the videographer behind the video vignettes
- The Bijou Theatre for hosting our celebration
- Trattoria ‘A Vucchella for catering the event
- Tom Ficklin for photographing the event
- William Casper Graustein Memorial Fund for funding the project