Assemblywoman Eloise Reyes, Dolores Huerta and Conway Collis, co-chair of the state Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force and leader of the EndChildPovertyCA.org campaign, convened community leaders on Thursday, Oct. 31 to discuss child poverty in San Bernardino to work together to urge state lawmakers to finish implementing the Task Force plan to end deep child poverty in California. Participants met at the headquarters at the Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino.
“We all know that
poverty doesn’t happen by chance. It’s a direct result of public policy
and generational poverty,” Assemblymember Reyes said as she called for
further action on the Task Force Plan. “In San Bernardino County,
345,000 people live in poverty, and children are the most vulnerable
“I know when you think of the ‘IE,’ you think of ‘Inland Empire.’ From now on, I want you to think ‘Inclusion and Equity,” she added.
“California allowed this to happen in part because there has never been a comprehensive plan,” said Collis of the state’s worst-in-nation child poverty crisis. “Now we have a plan that’s science based and data based.”
“This is not an expense, it’s an investment. If we invest in ending child poverty, it saves money in the long run,” said Dolores Huerta. “We have a solution. The only thing that’s lacking now is the will to make it happen.”
“How can anyone go to sleep at night knowing that we have children suffering in poverty,” she added.
“No matter what the numbers are that you hear about poverty, these are our children, every single one of them. So we cannot hold our heads high until every one of our kids is safe and well,” said Sister Joyce Weller of the Daughters of Charity.
The End Child Poverty CA Campaign is a joint project of GRACE and the GRACE End Child Poverty Institute partnering with the Dolores Huerta Foundation. GRACE is a ministry of Ministry Services of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.
-California has the highest number of children and highest percentage of children living in poverty of any state. These two million children represent 20% of CA children. 450,000 CA children live in “deep” child poverty, a population that would represent the state’s eighth largest city — larger than Oakland, twice as large as San Bernardino, and just smaller than Long Beach. More than 200,000 California children experience homelessness.
-State legislation created the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force. The goal was to change how poverty policy was promulgated. Too often, poverty spending simply adds to or reduces existing budget items. The goal here was to look at the data — what works, what isn’t, and build a plan from there. The result is a plan released in November 2018 to end deep child poverty in California in just four years and reduce overall child poverty in California by 50 percent over a decade.
-The End Child Poverty CA Campaign was launched to rally support for implementing the plan. Comprising a diverse coalition of more than 60 organizations, it helped lead to a 2019-20 state budget that includes almost $5 billion in Task Force Plan investments.
-At the event, Reyes, Huerta and Collis/the End Child Poverty CA campaign engaged community leaders to urge the state to keep going — to implement other aspects of the plan to reach the goal of ending deep child poverty and reducing overall child poverty by 50%. Doing so will save lives and taxpayer dollars.