This is a series of profiles of people making Oakland Smarter and Stronger.
Noni, Parent Voices Oakland
On March 3, Alameda County voters will have the opportunity to support Measure C, the Children’s Health and Child Care Initiative, which would:
Expand access to high quality child care for all Alameda County families.
Attract and retain excellent early educators to provide better care for our kids.
Help to create access to early pediatric health care for all Alameda County kids.
Ensure that Children’s Hospital’s Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center stays open and is fully staffed.
Measure C is designed to help address the fact that over half of Alameda County children do not get the high quality early health and child care they need -- and that the cost of child care is actually outpacing the cost of housing!
With nearly 7,000 Alameda County children on the waiting list for subsidized care, it’s clear that something has to change. We talked with Noni about why she’s been pounding the pavement in support of this measure.
Why is this issue important to you? I am co-parenting a 3-year-old, and I need child care. I’ve been on the subsidy list since I was pregnant. It took me a long time to find the care I have now. Cost, location, and quality were always an issue. I feel really blessed that I’ve found someone who is affordable and close to work. But working with Parent Voices, I realized I was just one in many many people in my situation.
I do not know ANYONE who has made it off the waiting list for subsidized child care.
It’s even harder for people who work in the service industry, such as cooks and waiters. A lot of child care providers are only open during the day. This measure will unite child care providers who are out there trying to serve our community. They might be able to expand their hours. I’m hoping this measure does that.
Also, working for this measure I’ve realized how important the trauma unit is at Children’s Hospital. They are one of only two in the whole state of California. It’s literally life or death for our children. The hospital needs more support.
What have you been doing in support of Measure C? I’ve been doing canvassing, phone banking, reaching out to friends and family, asking my child care provider what kinds of things she may need to be able to do her job better.
I’m also starting to work with the organizations that are going to be on the Measure C oversight committee, because my goal is not only that it passes but that funds are allocated properly and are doing what they’re supposed to do. I hope to do my part as a parent by being on the oversight committee through Parent Voices.
It seems like you’ve been putting a ton of time into Measure C. Why has this issue in particular grabbed your attention? I’m an Oakland native and I’ve lived in Alameda County all my life. As someone who tries to understand the world and all its struggles, as much as I want to support every measure I’m passionate about, I decided I needed to stay more local and work on things I can make a real impact on. This measure is directly affecting me. My 3-year-old son is a part of this community. It makes sense to be a part of something that I know is directly affecting me, my son, and my child care provider.