- June 21, 2021
-- During a regular meeting of the First 5 Ventura County Commission on Thursday, Commissioners unanimously approved adding Juneteenth as a paid holiday just moments after President Biden declared it as a new federal holiday. First 5 Commissioner and the County's Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin said, "I am proud that First 5 Ventura County yet again is a model employer in recognizing the nation's history of injustice and commemorating the end of slavery for the last slaves in Texas by adopting Juneteenth as a paid holiday for our employees."
"While officially commemorating the end of slavery through the Juneteenth holiday does not signal that equity has been achieved, it is a step towards increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion," said Petra Puls, Executive Director of First 5 Ventura County. "There is lots of work left to do to push back against racism," Puls added.
First 5 Ventura County is committed to acknowledging, identifying, and addressing systemic inequities and racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and ability disparities in early childhood experiences, opportunities, and outcomes, as outlined in the strategic plan. "We see the impact of institutional racism early in childhood, as children of color are more likely to be expelled from preschools than their white counterparts,"
said Barbara Marquez-O'Neill, Chair of the First 5 Ventura County Commission. First 5 Ventura County promotes equity in the community by incorporating the "Manifesto for Race Equity & Parent Leadership in Early Childhood Systems" into Parent and Child Together Classes. The Manifesto seeks to ensure that families have equitable access to opportunities, resources and supports in their communities, such as social connections, parenting resources, quality schools, good jobs, and safe neighborhoods. Parent and Child Together classes are free to attend and are enrolling now. www.first5ventura.org
for more information.