In 2018, thousands of part-time playground supervisors became
part of the classified service and eligible for union-negotiated
benefits and working conditions, thanks to Tony Thurmond’s
Assembly Bill 670.
After months of mobilizing staff, parents
and community allies from Watts and Koreatown to East Los
Angeles, Early Childhood Federation President Ruben Siguenza
recently sent supporters some bad news. “I regret to inform you
that our fight is over,” Siguenza wrote in an April 18 email. “We
have lost Kedren Head Start.”
Watts was still smoldering from the riots in 1965 when Kedren
Head Start began serving local families. Today, about 350 Kedren
employees care for more than 2,100 children at 32 sites from
South Los Angeles and Koreatown to the Eastside.
“All of us work in low-income, dangerous areas,” said Margaret
Garcia, a family service advocate at one of Kedren’s multiple
Watts facilities. An undercurrent of violence runs through the
For Esmeralda Grubbs, success starts when a
Local 1475 member takes a preschool boy or girl by the hand and
begins to build a foundation for lifelong learning.
Grubbs works with the Early Childhood Federation, a Los Angeles
County local representing preschool workers, from faculty and
teaching assistants to custodians and kitchen staff. Challenges
can be daunting, especially in low-income communities. In
October, a drive-by shooting threatened a Head Start program in a
Watts housing project.