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Early Childhood & Education News

EC&E 5:16 72ppiWe are pleased to announce that Dr. Regena Nelson will be our new co-chair of the EC&E Task Force. Regena is a member of ISAAC congregation Unitarian Universalist Community Church and is Chair of WMU Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies. Last month, we celebrated LaShana Jones’ graduation from WMU’s master’s program in social work and thanked her for her work as our task force co-chair. She and CJ are making plans to move back toward the east side of the state.

We are at work with several other partners on our issue–to create a trauma-informed community:

With services, care and education that can respond to the needs of children who have experienced the impacts of trauma and the toxic stresses related to poverty. To learn more about this topic, watch the TED Talk by Nadine Burke Harris: How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime. To join us in this work, please come to our next meeting Monday, May 16th, 5:30 to 7:00 PM at St. Luke’s Church.

Thank you to everyone who took part in our call to action to state legislators to restore state matchfunding for the Early On program and to reinstate the Childcare Expulsion Prevention Program. And thank you to all who took part in our Day of Action for Racial Equity in Early Childhood, which ISAAC co-sponsored with Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services to learn about disparities that begin at birth, and how we can change this narrative and take action to address these inequities that too many of our children face.

Pictured above are: Scott Janssen, Health Equity Coordinator for H&CS and convener of the event, and speakers (front row R to L) Dr. Catherine Kothari Assistant Professor, WMed, who displayed local racial inequity data and explained the impact it is having on Kalamazoo; Ms. Grace Lubwama, CEO, YWCA, who gave an impassioned speech regarding the impact of these persistent disparities on babies and children and rallied those in attendance to change the narrative in our community; (top row R to L) Dr. Gillian Stoltman, Health Officer, Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services who provided an overview of racial inequities and the impact they have on the health and well-being of our community; Dr. Cheryl Dickson, Associate Dean for Health Equity and Community Affairs, WMed, stressed the ability of the Kalamazoo community to overcome the obstacles to racial equity; Stephanie Lemmer, Principal, Head Start, discussed the need for and challenge of attracting staff that reflects the community they serve; and our own Dr. Charlae Davis, Executive Director, ISAAC,concluded the event with a passionate call that we take initiative and help change the racial inequities in our community. The event was well attended and Kalamazoo leaders rallied around the issue and committed themselves to take action for policy changes that can create more equitable conditions for all children, especially in the critical years of early childhood.

– Rochelle Habeck & Regena Nelson, Co-Chairs