By Dawn Wilkinson and Melissa Larson Busby | February 27, 2018
Just how hard is it to take action in our role as early childhood advocates?
We’re busy. We have lives, we work in our profession every single day. We work with infants and toddlers, teach pre-school, direct a center, or educate the professionals of tomorrow.
Many of us already consider ourselves to be early childhood advocates.
But taking action as an early childhood advocate? Speaking out, contacting legislators, publicly taking a stand? At first, that may sound overwhelming, time-consuming — even intimidating.
It doesn’t have to be!
On February 15, we partnered with SAzAEYC VP of Public Policy and Awareness Monica Brinkerhoff to present Your Advocacy Journey to a standing room only crowd at the AZECA sponsored Early Childhood Legislative Day, held at the Arizona State Capitol.
We were wowed by a packed house and truly honored to spread our message. We talked about a variety of ways early childhood advocates could take action at the local, state and national levels. As we presented that day, we watched as everyone in the room took notes and listened with great intention.
Our next step? We decided right then and there to share this tip list far and wide. Even if you only act on ONE single step from the list below, you’ll help advance policy and increase investments for early childhood education and let our elected officials know that early childhood education matters. That’s important!
1) Vote, Vote, VOTE!
According to the United States Election Project, the 2014 election was the lowest turnout election since 1942. The Voter Participation Center (VPC) a non-profit and non-partisan organization, predicts that 40 million Americans who voted in 2016 won’t cast a ballot in the 2018 midterms. Two thirds of those “drop-off voters” will be members of the “Rising American Electorate,” or voters that include unmarried women, people of color, and millennials. In 2014, over 75 million RAE members didn’t vote. The RAE drop-off is projected to be particularly pronounced in key 2018 battleground states, such as Arizona, Nevada, Florida, and Ohio.
ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE? Maybe you haven’t voted in a while, you’ve moved, you just never got around to registering. Do you need to take I.D.? Where is your polling place?
Need more detailed, Arizona-specific information? Find links to Arizona Election Laws & Publications via the office of the Arizona Secretary of State.
2) Participate in your professional organization
Connect with your fellow educators, advocates, and policy makers to advance policy and increase investment for early childhood education and educators. Stay up to date with what is going on in our profession!
Join AzAEYC/NAEYC for regular updates on policy positions via e-letter and social media platforms.
3) Connect with other Arizona Early Childhood organizations
Follow these Arizona based organizations on social media and join mailing lists for action alerts.
Stay educated, aware, keep up to date on our profession in and around Arizona.
4) Connect with National Organizations
Follow these national organizations on social media and join mailing lists for action alerts.
5) Engage with Local, State, and National Lawmakers
Connect with lawmakers on social media.Comment when you can and at your comfort level. Or connect by phone, email or snail mail. Not sure which member represents your district? Click on the links below.
“I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
-Edward Everett Hale
Dawn Wilkinson is the Executive Director of AzAEYC. Melissa Larson Busby serves as president of the AzAEYC Board, and is the Director of Early Childhood Education at Central Arizona College.