Statement of Solidarity

From Early Matters Chattanooga:

Today’s babies are our next generation of leaders and in TN, 36% of babies are children of color. As a group of organizations serving Black children and their families in our community, we acknowledge the historic and systemic racial disparities in policies, programs and employment that have led to inequitable access to quality early childhood services. This lack of access has now grown more dire because it is estimated that 44% of Tennessee child care slots could be lost due to COVID-19.

As a part of the broader Chattanooga 2.0 initiative, and as our own growing coalition, we support Chattanooga 2.0’s recently released statement of solidarity for Black members of our community and their commitment to placing equity at the center of ongoing efforts to improve education outcomes.

Our coalition is working to finish a strategic plan that outlines data-informed strategies to promote equitable access to quality early childhood services through systems building and advocacy efforts. As individuals, we are taking intentional action towards self-improvement and self-awareness as it relates to racial equity education.

We commit to working with today’s leaders to dismantle systems, like systemic racism, that hinder children’s success, and in their place, build systems that advance access, equity, and justice for the babies who have consistently been denied.

For parents looking to start the conversation about race and anti-racism with their children, we have included resources from our community partners on our website at earlymatterschatt.org/parents

Signed:

Chambliss Center for Children

Chattanooga Office of Early Learning

Children’s Advocacy Center of Hamilton County

Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga

Creative Discovery Museum

Nurture The Next

Read 20

Save the Children Action Network – Tennessee

Signal Centers

Rebecca Aslinger, Chattanooga State Community College

Kelcy Chambers – Brainerd United Methodist Preschool/PDO

David E Ferrier – UTC Department of Psychology

Meghan Graybeal, Aleph Bet Children’s Center

Tania Henson-Brooks, Chattanooga State Community College

Rosalyn Leavell-Rice, The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth

Leslie Morris, Northside Learning Center

Gladys Pineda, YMCA Language Immersion Early Learning Center

Shandra Fritz, Community Member

Susie Grant, Community Member

Celeste McKenzie, Community Member

Julie Mickel, Community Member

Silvia Ramos, Community Member

Elle Scarbrough, Community Member

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