I am sure that many of us have seen athletes celebrating too soon and losing the race or game as a result. Our recent legislative session brings it to mind because it is easy for the wins and progress to be celebrated. School funding, early childhood and HUSKY Health are some of the key areas where significant progress was made.
We are especially proud of the role which community-based organizations played in achieving these wins. and we are even more proud to support them. All Our Kin, FaithActs for Education, CERCLE, E4E, C4D and the School and State Finance Project are some of these groups we are privileged to support. However, President Obama warned when he was elected that the work done to get him elected was needed to continue moving the needle.
He said, “What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek — it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.”
As an organizer, Obama understood that wins occur in waves and risk setbacks when loss of focus and energy distracts communities from long-range goals.
Our community leaders know this all too well and are not the ones who need reminding. Politicians and philanthropists are far more guilty of declaring victory before the race was won and moving on to other topics.
Applause is in order for the steps that we were able to take this year on critical issues. Let’s make this moment an opportunity to build momentum toward addressing the entire range of issues and needs that disadvantaged communities are struggling with every day. Too many children and families live in insecure environments with parents struggling to make ends meet, keep a roof over their heads and find opportunities for their children to grow and thrive safely and with love from the entire community.
Schools and housing and food security remain significant issues of want for too many children in our state. As much as Connecticut is seen as a higher-performing state as regards education, lower-income communities are still lacking the resources required to provide the world class education available in wealthier school districts. Saddest of all is that this starts at the beginning.
The lack of prenatal care, early childhood services and support, and preschool development opportunities are just some of the deficiencies experienced in one of the wealthiest states in the union.
Investments in securing the safety and health of children from day one is smarter than paying for our failures when some of those children go astray. We would save millions and generate even more when we make sure that these children grow up as productive members of society. Do the math.
Personally, I love a party and do not resent or begrudge celebrating hard-fought victories. As soon as we finish celebrating, let’s double down our support for these same communities so we can provide the rest of the loaf and not just the crust and some crumbs.
David Addams is the executive director of the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund.