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“Honor & Care” event supports and celebrates Black childcare providers

Photo from BCDI-Seattle Facebook page.

In the fall of 2022, the Seattle affiliate of the National Black Child Development Institute, BCDI-Seattle organized an event that served and celebrated Black childcare providers. The event, Honor & Care, focused on sharing resources and information and recognizing the hard work and dedication of workers in the childcare industry.

We recently connected with event organizers, to chat about the event and how their Small Sparks award from the Neighborhood Matching Fund helped them serve the community.

Tell us a bit about your project, Honor & Care, and the event that was held last fall.

The Honor and Care event was a project of the BCDI- Seattle. It was held at Rainier Beach Community Center, in the south end of Seattle. It was a wonderful celebration centering Black childcare providers and a joyful occasion with nearly a hundred in attendance. A variety of speakers from the Black community with resources relevant to the Black community shared materials and information such as budgeting and finance, mental health and self-care, mindfulness, and massage, just to name a few. Gifts and multicultural children’s books were given to every participant.

Dr. Mona Lake Jones delivered a cultural blessing. It was reflective of the welcoming atmosphere for the entire event. BCDI organized an Afrocentric event that exuded our cultural ways of being in community, in celebrating our individual and collective humanity, and our commitment to our children, families, and communities.

How did the idea for the project come about and who was responsible for organizing the event?

A tan background with a the profile of children's faces silhouetted in orange, brown, yellow, and black in a circle logo. Text reads "BCDI Black Child Development Institute Seattle"

How did we get here? 30 years ago, BCDI-Seattle conducted a survey* of Black childcare providers under the leadership of then president, Yvonne Ervin-Carr. As a result, Mayor Norm Rice added money to his budget specifically for training Black childcare providers. With the survey BCDI-Seattle conducted last year, we found that many of the initial concerns remained the same. We wanted to support these childcare providers in what they want to see happen next.

BCDI-Seattle is also celebrating its Golden Jubilee of 50 years of existence! We could not think of a better way to celebrate our jubilee than to honor and thank Black childcare providers for their work, commitment, and dedication to taking care of Black children.

The event honored the beloved founder of BCDI-Seattle, Bunny Wilburn. Bunny worked for Catholic Community Services as director of childcare facilities. She called together childcare providers to advocate for better quality services for Black children and their families.

The organizers of the event were past president and public policy chair of BCDI, Sadikifu Akina James and current president, Kimberly Early. They were instrumental in the development of the survey and publishing of the results. Together they conceived of an event that would shower providers with both gratitude and resources. Sadikifu Akina James organized a planning team of volunteers.

How did the Neighborhood Matching Fund Small Sparks grant help make this project possible?

Small Sparks/ Neighborhood Matching Fund grants are a great way to fund grassroots projects. Because we did not have the funding to hold an event that would adequately honor Black childcare providers, we looked for partners who might support our idea. Small Sparks helped us to offer the event we envisioned.

The technical support and guidance we received from our project manager, Yun Pitre, was wonderful.  The allowance of volunteer hours to match funding is a very useful concept. All the efforts of the volunteers along with the funding made it a memorable event for all!

How did this event provide needed support for the community?

The event offered much-needed respite, rejuvenation, and resources to Black childcare providers. There were opportunities for self-care, business consultation, and mental health professionals to dialogue with caregivers.

Black childcare providers are an essential part of the community. They allow parents and families to be part of the workforce. They offer care and education to our youngest children and our school-age children as well. During the pandemic, it became clear that our childcare providers were experiencing high levels of stress. Not surprisingly, Black childcare providers were especially vulnerable in an already inequitable environment and suffered loss of staff and income at a disproportionate rate. Yet they continued to be committed to Black children and their families. The event acknowledged and thanked them for their hard work and dedication.

*A copy of the 2021 child care survey can be obtained by reaching out to Black Child Development Institute Seattle

Neighborhood Matching Fund Small Sparks grants provide up to $5,000 in funding for small community activities such as neighborhood clean-ups, block parties, events, community art projects, workshops, and more. Applications for Small Sparks are accepted on a rolling basis through October 31, 2023. For more information on the fund and how to apply visit: