Yesterday, at Mayor Muriel Bowser's National Maternal and Infant Health Summit, DC Action for Children moderated a panel featuring four amazing young parents.
They shared what it was like navigating public support systems while pregnant and with their young child. The panelists spoke at length about their challenges securing employment, housing, childcare vouchers, and other services. They also provided recommendations for the District's agency leaders and policymakers.
Toward the end of the session, each panelist shared photos of their young children and expressed their hopes, dreams, and fears for their Black sons. It was an inspiring session that highlights the power of youth voice and why we must continue to place their voices at the center of these conversations.
QUOTES AND HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PANELISTS:
“My son is gentle. He always asks, 'Mommy, are you ok?' You see the way society changes the way he's portrayed? When does he go from wanting to be a scientist to being seen as a thug? I want him to be successful and to be what he wants to be." – Tanazia
"An ideal family resource center would help us apply for jobs, prepare for job interviews, have a closet with professional attire, and have workers who are passionate about what they're doing." – Dijonia
"Childcare vouchers shouldn't depend on both parents being involved in the child's life. – Na'Asia
"I would recommend that DC create more housing programs for parents and kids and that there are more programs for single parents and kids." – Jenny
"High schools should offer apprenticeship programs so students and student-parents can learn a trade and have a good way to support their families." – Tanazia
"I want my son to be striving and shooting for the stars." – Na’Asia
"I want my son to have a good job and make a good living for himself. That's all I ask." – Jenny