Public Charge: Since October 10, over 210,000 comments have been submitted to the Federal Register in response to the Trump Administration’s proposal to expand the definition of a “public charge” for immigrants seeking to legally adjust their status or obtain legal permanent residency (Green Card). First 5 LA has submitted comments formally opposing the public charge, believing the rule expansion will have an incredibly adverse effect on child and family stability in L.A. County and California. Since February, First 5 LA has formally opposed the public charge expansion in several ways including signing on to a nationwide opposition letter, signing on as a coalition member of the California Protecting Immigrant Families campaign, releasing a joint First 5s opposition statement, hosting an immigration panel discussion at the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce’s ACCESS DC trip, and recently signing on along with 25 other funders to place a media ad opposing the rule expansion. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will spend several months reviewing all of the comments submitted, as legally obligated. If the rule is approved, an effective date is set at least 60 days after the final rule is approved. The Policy team will continue to monitor the rule as it moves through the regulatory process.

'Tis the Season: Celebrating the holiday season, First 5 LA’s Public Policy and Government Affairs team have been busy supporting elected officials’ toy drives throughout the County. Kicking off the season, Senior Government Affairs Strategist Jamie Zamora attended Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez’s Annual Holiday Toy Drive and Reception for the children of the Assembly District 52, which includes the committees of Pomona, Chino, Montclair and Ontario. Continuing the celebration, last week Jamie brought a large donation of bilingual books on behalf of First 5 LA for Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian’s Annual Holiday Toy Drive and Reception. The families of Assembly District 46 — which includes the communities of Hollywood Hills, Lake Balboa, North Hills, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys and Universal City — enjoyed a concert of holiday music while picking out books and other gifts at the event.

The Godfather: First 5 LA recently sponsored the Sharefest 15th Annual Gala: “Changing the Odds.” Sharefest was founded with the goal of empowering youth and transforming communities to change their odds. Today, it is a community-based organization that serves the Greater Los Angeles area, with an emphasis on Watts, Wilmington and Central Long Beach. For his care for the community and his historic career, L.A. Dodgers and Baseball Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda was presented with Sharefest’s Community Hero Award. Colleague Bill Gould shared his reflections on the event: “As a baseball fan it was great to interact with 91-year-old Tommy Lasorda, but the real stars of the night were the Sharefest youth who were advancing their lives in significant ways despite having experienced significant adversity."

Health Equity Now: The American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting and Expo, held last month in San Diego, focused on the theme “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now.” The event, attended by nearly 13,000 public health professionals, had several engaging sessions focusing efforts around health equity. In one panel, civil rights activist Dolores Huerta encouraged participants to align themselves with the community and with organizing agencies, adding that those most affected by a problem are the same people who have the solution and know what needs to be prioritized. In the closing session, Debra Joy Pérez from Simmons University in Boston left attendees with the message that “applying the social and equity lens is the work – not separate work.”

Continuing the Conversation: Executive Director Kim Belshé recently met with Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove (AD-54) at her Los Angeles district office to discuss how First 5 LA can continue to work with her to support and advocate on behalf of children and families. Kamlager-Dove co-authored AB 11 (McCarty), which First 5 LA sponsored. Kamlager-Dove was elected to the State Assembly during a Special Election this past April and has been a long-time early childhood development champion, once serving as the Director of External Affairs for Crystal Stairs.