Hundreds rally for Kentucky kids virtually during Children’s Advocacy Week

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Source: Kentucky Youth Advocates

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Hundreds of youth advocates from across Kentucky are virtually convening this week for Children’s Advocacy Week. According to Kentucky Youth Advocates, they are urging elected leaders to support the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children, a unified agenda for child advocates across the state.

Tuesday, in place of the gathering in the Capitol Rotunda, advocates and state leaders tuned into the first virtual Rally for Kentucky Kids.

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“Today, youth, social workers, faith leaders, teachers, pediatricians, child care providers, community leaders, and many others unite to ask our state leaders to make Kentucky children a priority during the 2021 legislative session,” said Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. “As the commonwealth works to overcome the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and address systemic racism, kids’ issues are the common ground in which our elected leaders can make state policy and budget decisions that build a brighter future for every Kentuckians.”

Gov. Andy Beshear, House Speaker David Osborne, and Senator Julie Raque Adams joined youth and advocates at the virtual Rally for Kentucky Kids, which included remarks and performances by several Kentucky youth.

The following legislators were honored with 2021 Champion for Children awards for their efforts in the 2020 Kentucky General Assembly:

Senator Ralph Alvarado
Senator Danny Carroll
Senator David Givens
Senator Christian McDaniel
Senator Julie Raque Adams
Senator Whitney Westerfield
Representative Lynn Bechler
Representative Joni Jenkins
Representative David Meade
Representative Jerry Miller
Representative Kimberly Moser
Representative Melinda Gibbons Prunty
Representative Steve Riley

The following legislators and state officials were honored with 2020 Census Champion awards for their efforts to ensure a complete census count:

Governor Andy Beshear
Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman
Senate President Robert Stivers
Senators Morgan McGarvey
Representative Attica Scott
CHFS Secretary Eric Friedlander
Dustin Isaacs
Jon Park
Carrie Banahan
Karen Cantrell
Kinsey Morrison

“I have seen both sides and, let me tell you, the ones who root for kids will be on top. Please remember to stand up for every kid – the lucky, the unlucky, the sad, and the happy,” said Felicity Krueger, high school senior from Adair County. “You never know what one child may be going through, so watch out for all of them no matter what. All kids need someone rooting for them.”

In addition to the rally, advocates and youth are meeting with or hearing comments from legislators and other elected officials throughout the week, including First Lady Britainy Beshear, Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman, Secretary of State Michael Adams, Attorney General Daniel Cameron, Department for Community Based Services Commissioner Marta Miranda-Straub, Senator David Givens, Senator Gerald Neal, Senator Reggie Thomas, Senator Whitney Westerfield, Senator Max Wise, Representative Ken Fleming, Representative Joni Jenkins, Representative DJ Johnson, Representative Nima Kulkarni, Representative Kim Moser, Representative Melinda Prunty, and others.

Advocates are pushing for several state policies and budget investments on the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children 2021 agenda, including allowing city and county governments the option to regulate the use, display, sale, and distribution of tobacco products – including e-cigarettes – to curb tobacco use among youth, securing funding to support student mental health, strengthening efforts in child abuse and neglect prevention, building safer communities and brighter futures for kids with more effective responses when children get in trouble, and investing in the infrastructure to close the digital divide.

“As our young people, state leaders, and partner advocates join together throughout Children’s Advocacy Week, I’m reminded of the profound opportunities the Commonwealth has to improve the lives of kids,” said Brooks. “Working across chambers and across political parties has paid off in a big way for kids – we’ve seen it with the bipartisan work towards fundamental child welfare reforms and the comprehensive approach to improving school safety. Our lawmakers must continue that trend when crafting the continuation state budget this legislative session and making decisions for an equitable recovery from the ripple effects of the pandemic.”

For more information about Children’s Advocacy Day at the Capitol, click HERE.

To learn more about the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children, click HERE.

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Erica joins the ABC 36 family as a Co-Anchor of Good Morning Kentucky weekday mornings from 5am-7am with Cody Adams and Good Day Kentucky weekday mornings from 9am to 10am. Erica also anchors News at Midday from 12-12:30pm. She is also a Web and Social Media Content Producer. Erica graduated in three and a half years from Michigan State University with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism and specialization in Women, Gender and Social Justice. Although she hails from Michigan, Erica has worked as a News Reporter/Sports Anchor for the CBS-affiliate in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to that, she worked for a PBS-affiliate there covering all types of news – even providing live reports for The Weather Channel during her first hurricane. She then moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana and worked as the Weekend Anchor/Reporter at KPLC, the NBC/FOX/CW affiliate. Erica comes to Lexington from the Huntington area where she worked at WSAZ, an NBC/CW affiliate in West Virginia, as a weekday evening anchor covering the tri states of Ohio and Kentucky as well. In addition to her background on TV, Erica has worked in radio, served as the PA announcer for the Class A "Lansing Lugnuts" and hosted Carnival parades in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Some of her favorite hobbies include running, reading, hiking, spending time with her husband and taking pictures of their furbabies. Erica is big on community involvement, having served as a board member for Dress for Success, volunteered as a Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters, worked on the Mayor's Armed Forces Commission in Lake Charles and hosted countless events. She hopes you can connect with her on Facebook: EricaBivensTV and on Twitter: @ericabivens or Instagram: erica.bivens. You can also email her at ebivens@wtvq.com. Please send all event inquiries via email. Erica is excited to explore Lexington and the outdoors and - of course - meet all of you!