Editor’s Note: The Early Learning Nation Studio recently attended the 2023 National Black Child Development Institute’s annual conference in Charlotte, NC. We had rich and illuminating conversations with early learning researchers, policymakers, advocates and practitioners of all ages. The full collection of video conversations can be found here.
Every child has a story. And the BCDI-Carolina’s Marketing & Communications Manager explains why—in order to improve all children’s learning experience—it’s incumbent on all of us to listen to their stories and know how to share them with others.
Chris Riback: Roosevelt, thank you for coming by the studio.
Roosevelt Moss: It’s my pleasure.
Chris Riback: So tell me about BCDI Carolinas. It’s been Charlotte, it’s about to go to Carolinas. Why the transition? Why moving from covering Charlotte to covering the Carolinas?
Roosevelt Moss: Well, I think the transition is important because the need is great, and the work that we do through our larger organization, National BCDI, we just thought it was important not to just limit in North Carolina, especially with our close proximity in the Charlotte location, and a lot of our members currently live in South Carolina, so we just see it as an opportunity to continue to grow, do the work that we’re called to do.
Chris Riback: We are all taught to think globally, but act locally. What are the local issues in early childhood learning for the Carolinas?
Roosevelt Moss: There’s a long list of issues and challenges. And for me, working in the marketing and communications area, what’s most important to me is making sure that the stories of those challenges are being told. A lot of times decisions are made off numbers, and numbers are great, but if we can hear the stories from the perspective of the people who are having those challenges and who are going through those different situations, a lot of times it can touch the hearts of those decision makers and be able to help make some progress that’s desperately needed.
Chris Riback: What are some of the stories that have most resonated with you?
Roosevelt Moss: Some of our families have limited access to some of the most basic and fundamental needs. The funding disparity in some of our classrooms, food deserts in some of our communities, some of the basic fundamental things that you sometimes take for granted if you don’t experience it. And so it’s important for me from my perspective to be able to share those stories and to be able to communicate that message so that those who are in positions to be able to make those changes can know what’s really happening on the ground.
Chris Riback: Tell me about those people. Who are the audiences that you really want to influence?
Roosevelt Moss: City officials, local officials, government officials on all different levels, the decision makers in the classrooms and then the policies that really help shape just the everyday life experiences of the people that we serve. We really want them to hear the heart of the people that they’re actually in position to serve, but sometimes are a little distant from those people. Part of my job is to help communicate those stories, those messages, and make sure that they’re heard.
Chris Riback: And to help close that gap.
Roosevelt Moss: To help close the gap for sure.
Chris Riback: And the people who are the protagonists of the stories that you’re telling, what do they have to say about your work and what do they have to say about BCDI Carolinas?
Roosevelt Moss: That it’s much needed. And while we’re doing a lot of really good work, really good hard work, some of our volunteers, the people on our team led by our president, Dr. Govan-Hunt, she’s leading a charge of an army that sometimes is not seen, but the work that’s being done is definitely felt in the communities. So they would say that there is work being done, but there is still so much more, and that we need to just continue to push, be a little bit more aggressive in our advocacy and fight for what we deserve and what’s rightfully ours.
Chris Riback: You have a lot of work ahead of you, and it sounds like you have plenty of opportunity to tell those stories.
Roosevelt Moss: Yes, we do. And we look forward to it. We’ve rolled our sleeves up and ready to go and to continue this expansion and see where we can take it.
Chris Riback: Roosevelt, thank you for your work. Thank you for coming by the studio.
Roosevelt Moss: Thank you so much for having me.