Led by a 27-member committee of influential Floridians, The Children’s Movement of Florida today announced a statewide, citizen-led, non-partisan series of “Milk Parties” on behalf of Florida’s children.
The sweeping series of 15 “Milk Party” rallies will start in northern Florida on September 6 and will conclude with a special engagement at Key West High School on September 30.
The events will include appearances by movement leaders, children’s advocates, entertainers and local celebrities and supporters. Refreshments will include milk and cookies. A bus called “The Children’s Express” will carry the group on “The Children’s Movement Road Tour” from city to city.
The objective: To educate political, business and civic leaders – and all parents in Florida – about the urgent need to improve the way we care for our children, making the well-being and education of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens Florida’s highest priority.
Special concentration will be focused on early childhood, the years from birth through five years old, when science tells us that 90 percent of human brain development occurs.
“Through the sheer magnitude of these rallies and the thousands of supporters who attend them, we will show influential leaders in Tallahassee and everywhere else that we have the power to obtain for Florida’s children the resources they require and deserve,” said David Lawrence Jr., president and co-chair of The Children’s Movement of Florida, founding chair of The Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade County and retired publisher of The Miami Herald.
The need is clear: Florida regularly ranks in the bottom half of states in child health, largely due to the high rate of babies born underweight and children who die within their first year of life. Hundreds of thousands of children in Florida are not covered by health insurance. The state’s prekindergarten program does not meet most national standards. And more.
“I am a frustrated Floridian,” Lawrence said. “By almost every objective standard, Florida ranks poorly in measure after measure of how we invest in children.
“What we’re trying to do is make children – particularly infants and toddlers – a top priority in this state,” he said. “This powerful, well-organized, well-funded movement is about the future of our community and our country.”
To fund the initial phase of the movement, almost the entire million-dollar initial goal has been raised from foundations, individuals, and businesses. No public funds are being used.
Key West is the last of 15 State Wide “Milk Party” Rallies on September 30th!
The Florida Keys Children’s Movement Team:
Pictured, from left: Kadie Black (Our Kids), Susan Vodicka, Children’s Movement of Florida State Campaign Manager) Kelli Brower (CMF Regional Coordinator), Alan Ecksteing (Monroe County Steering Committee) Alexsa Leto (GAL), Doug Blomberg (Wesley House) and Margie Smith (United Way), and Vance Aloupis (CMF).