|A Parent’s Love
“I don’t like children, I love them.”
These are the words of Geanna Williams-Davis, a Philadelphia mother of two and grandmother of seven, who is fighting for a better life for them and all children.
A parent’s love is powerful. On an extraordinary level, we saw parents in Uvalde brave a gunman to save their children. In the day-to-day, we see parents shielding their children from danger, nurturing them with love, and taking action to improve their lives.
Geanna was one of several parents lined up virtually to testify before Philadelphia City Council last week, and she gave voice to the worry – nay, fear – that so many parents are feeling right now as the school year soon ends. “As we know when the libraries, pools, and recreation centers are closed, it creates a breeding ground for destruction. We cannot afford any more destruction within our communities.” With nearly 200 kids shot in Philadelphia so far this year, her fear is sadly justified.
There are few more influential voices on lawmakers than those of parents, and as City Council is close to finalizing the 2022-23 budget, raising those voices now is critical. It looks like the City is going to end its fiscal year with a $390 million surplus, which could go a long way in meeting the needs of children and families.
With Children First’s assistance, parents have been lobbying city legislators to keep their kids safe and successful by:
- Funding anti-violence programs
- Helping child care providers hire and retain qualified staff
- Opening libraries on the weekend
- Delivering free, accessible internet to Philadelphia students
- Building connections between the School District of Philadelphia and extracurricular activities
Now is also not the time to repeal the soda tax and destabilize the much-needed and hugely popular PHLpreK program. Instead, Council should boost the number of affordable child care slots to 5,000 so more children get a head start on learning.
Philadelphia parent Simon Galperin agreed and told Council so in his testimony, “PHLpreK has had ripple effects across my child and my family, and I would like all families across Philadelphia to have the same benefit. In the nation’s poorest largest city, far too many families are not given a path forward beyond the vicious grips of poverty.”
He was joined by Yinnely Davidson, “All children should have the opportunity to have a strong start to their educational journey. Children who are not enrolled in pre-k are being setup for failure at a point which could otherwise make all the difference in their educational journey.”
With so much happening in the world and in our neighborhoods, it’s imperative that we use every last resource to build stronger communities and raise happy, healthy children. It’s what every parent wants.