Strolling Thunder: Weather Recap
Showers of bright smiles under sunny skies mark advocacy day for families on Capitol Hill!
A strong storm rolled through our nation’s capital May 2, and members of Congress were directly in its path.
Babies and families from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., descended on Capitol Hill to stand up for the youngest children as part of Strolling Thunder. Participating families met with members and staff from more than 150 congressional offices to tell them to Think Babies, and the group swelled to more than 400 people for a symbolic stroll around the Capitol under perfectly sunny skies.
ZERO TO THREE’S executive director, Matthew Melmed, said the event was a chance to create a tsunami of awareness for federal policymakers.
“The greatest opportunity to influence a child’s life happens between the ages of 0 to 3, when brains grow faster than at any other point later in life,” said Matthew Melmed, executive director, ZERO TO THREE. “When families have the support they need to nourish the critical first few months and years of development with quality interactions and connections, we can stave off challenges down the road.”
A blizzard of pictures using #ThinkBabies and #StrollingThunder swirled onto Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: A dad changing a diaper inside a congressional office during a meeting. Strollers decorated with flags proudly displaying a baby’s home state. Even a possible future policymaker behind a podium bearing the seal of the U.S. Senate. The Strolling Thunder families captured every moment easier than they could catch a snowflake on their tongues.
“It means so much to me to be able to share my story with Congress and be a voice for mothers across the country who are like me,” said Kaylah Dessausure from Delaware. “I understand that zero to three are the most crucial years of life for development. Now I want to help other families in whatever way I can. I will always Think Babies.”
As families from around the nation created a tornado of activity in the halls of Congress, both babies and parents made their voices heard and policymakers from both sides of the aisle listened.
“Investing in our young children is a hallmark and a reflection of the values of this great nation,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, speaking to the Strolling Thunder crowd. “If we are not looking out for our youngest, who are we looking out for in this country? We have to fight for the youngest among us with every available resource. It is an investment in our future.”
“Today in these strollers might be the next cure for cancer, our next great artist or author or movie star,” Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee told the group. “This is our future. This is our potential as a nation. So let’s come together, work together, and advocate together.”
It takes more than fair-weather friends to create an event like Strolling Thunder. ZERO TO THREE extends its gratitude to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, whose partnership and support made the event and the Think Babies campaign possible. We would also like to thank the many other organizations who helped us identify families and flooded Capitol Hill for the stroll, as well as the policymakers and their staff members who met with Strolling Thunder families. And, of course, ZERO TO THREE appreciates the families who took time out from their busy lives for this event. The power of their stories, their commitment, and the presence of their children became the thunder of a storm that won’t be forgotten.
To add your Big Voice for Little KidsTM to theirs, join our ZERO TO THREE Policy Network.
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