Keeping the California Dream Alive

California is the only state in the union with its very own dream. For generations, people have flocked to this state with hopes of a better future—to fulfill their “California Dream.”

Today, that dream is beginning to dim. A new report showed that nearly two-thirds (64%) of Californians say they would tell young people in their communities to actually leave the state to find opportunity elsewhere.

As a Californian, I find that distressing. This campaign is about keeping the future of our state alive, and giving children opportunity to be the best they can be right here in California. Sign up to make that a reality: http://www.endchildpovertyca.org/signup/

This past week, our state’s first-ever Child Poverty Task Force gathered in Los Angeles to continue charting a path forward for a comprehensive, statewide plan to keep this dream alive for the 1.9 million children currently living in poverty.

Made up of community leaders and other experts from across the state, we continued looking at how we can coordinate services and invest in research-backed programs to better give working families the chance to live, work, and dream of a better future.

As Task Force member Camille Maben of First 5 California said: “There’s not one silver bullet. There’s a lot of them.” Housing, food, childcare, social services—these core issues beat at the heart of the Task Force’s plan currently taking shape.

Beyond looking at these crucial barriers to families, we also examined how we can make the system smarter and simpler. Far too often, one unexpected expense spirals and it’s nearly impossible for families to navigate our complicated web of social services.

Task Force member Iris Zuñiga of Youth Policy Institute said it best: “It’s almost like a part-time job trying to figure out these different systems.” When many parents are working two to three jobs just to make ends meet, that’s unacceptable.

The numbers don’t lie. In the same survey from PRRI, 42 percent of workers in the state reported cutting back on a doctor’s visit or food just to get by. In the world’s fifth-largest economy, this is shameful.

When implemented, the comprehensive proposals from the Child Poverty Task Force will change California forever. Change takes hard work, though, and it takes Californians of all walks of life speaking out until politicians sit up and listen. Take one minute today and join our movement to make California a land of opportunity for all kids, not just the wealthy few. Our future depends on it.


Toward a better future for all kids,

Conway Collis
End Child Poverty in California