Pictured: Petra (left), Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson (center), and Lydia (right)
Lydia Gray-Holifield and Petra Hernandez Garcia, PAC parent leaders, sit alongside Molly Day, Early Learning Director, on the Preschool for All (PFA) Community Advisory Committee. In August 2021, Lydia and Petra were appointed by the Board of County Commissioners, for their dedication and contribution in successfully passing Preschool for All in Multnomah County. For a year, Lydia and Petra acted as unwavering PAC representatives and were very active in the PFA task force before the measure passed in 2020.
In August 2021, the Multnomah County government established and appointed the Community Advisory Committee. The County Board of Commissioners appointed 15 early childhood community advocates, two being PAC parent leaders and our Early Learning Director.
The group will also advance Preschool for All’s commitment to building an early learning system based on racial justice and equity. Seventy-three percent of the group identifies as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color (BIPOC), with members representing every geographic quadrant of Multnomah County.
— "Board appoints first Preschool for All Advisory Committee" Multnomah County
Early learning education is an important and critical service for Multnomah families. Multnomah families and voters expressed their support and need for extended investment into early learning education when 64% voted in support of PFA. PFA is moving forward in its mission to provide access to free, high-quality, developmentally appropriate, culturally responsive preschool experiences to 3- and 4-year-old children across the county.
At the first PFA Advisory Committee Meeting on Wednesday, October 20th, 2021, Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson stated:
There are a lot of people here who were responsible for that win. Lydia Gray Holifield, Petra Hernandez, Ana Munoz, Hadiyah Miller, Andrea Paluso, Emily Glasgow, Molly Day- you were all part of that work, and essential to the development for PFA. We couldn’t have done it without all your contributions. I know you will all bring insights to the work of the advisory committee going forward.
When asked how does the PFA Community Advisory Council and your vision of early learning education in Multnomah County align together, Early Learning Director Molly Day said:
We know that good decisions are made when the people impacted by those decisions are deeply involved in making policy. We saw that happen with the design of the Preschool For All plan and we are very pleased to see it continue through the Community Advisory Committee. I think that’s what is so exciting about early childhood work in Multnomah right now—this very real partnership between County government and parent leaders from communities who have been kept distant from policymaking. Honestly, we’re done with trying to build an early childhood system any other way.
ELM and our parent leaders continue to push for racial equity, parent voice, and expanding access to quality education services throughout Multnomah County's early learning systems.
We are honored to have Lydia, Petra, and Molly sit on the committee for two years!