Lean Into You

Becoming an Early Childhood Advocate

June 15, 2022 Alex Farrell and Wesley Mayes Season 3 Episode 43
Lean Into You
Becoming an Early Childhood Advocate
Show Notes Transcript

What is the value of connecting our daily, lived experiences with the bigger picture of what is happening in early childhood policy and advocacy?

We talk about this and much more in today’s episode with Shannon Rudisill. Shannon is the Executive Director of the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, an organization that activates private philanthropists to fund advocacy efforts in early childhood.

Prior to joining ECFC, Shannon served on the Obama Administration’s senior leadership team for early childhood programs and was the Director of the Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Child Care (OCC). OCC administers the Child Care and Development Fund, which provides over $5 billion per year to States, Territories, and over 500 Tribal communities to provide child care for about 1.5 million children each month.

This project is funded through a grant with the Tennessee Department of Human Services and Signal Centers, Inc.

Becoming an Early Childhood Advocate

Wed, Nov 09, 2022 11:25AM • 36:38


educators, people, advocacy, organizing, pay, early childhood, talking, groups, fund, childcare, policy, care, teacher, frontline, parents, problem, organizers, table, important, work


Shannon Rudisill, Alex Farrell, Wesley Mayes


Shannon Rudisill  00:00

If you're hanging out with organizers, it is a it's a different it's an a more emotionally authentic environment. That involves people being together in their pain and also together in their celebration.


Alex Farrell  00:19

Hey, everyone, this is Alex and Wes from the lean into podcasts. And we're super excited today to talk to Shannon Rudisill, who is the Executive Director of the Early Childhood funders collaborative. The ECFC is an organization that activates private philanthropists in order to fund and support advocacy work, specifically in early childhood. So today, we're really excited to get into kind of a conversation talking about advocacy, policy, how policy kind of works within the field, and then how we can connect the lived experiences of frontline educators to activism and policy work at a larger scale.


Wesley Mayes  00:58

I really enjoyed this conversation. I liked that she created a distinction between actually advocacy and organizing, which is something that she is advocating for is, you know, early childhood educators and honestly, just any early childhood professionals to come together to share their lived experiences, then to create action on that.


Alex Farrell  01:19

Absolutely. And one thing that I really enjoyed about this conversation is that we weren't just talking, Shannon brought a lot of really tangible examples of how frontline educators getting involved on a policy level has actually moved the needle on a national conversation. So we hope you enjoy this conversation with Shannon Rudisill on self care policy and collective action. Hello, Shannon, how are you?


Shannon Rudisill  01:51

I'm good. How are you doing?


Alex Farrell  01:53

Well. Great. Yeah, thanks for joining us on the podcast today. Really excited to get into this conversation about kind of your work from a policy kind of top down level and approach and a little bit about advocacy. Because one thing that we really want to do with this episode, among other things, is connect the the issues that are in the heads of the frontline educator to the national conversation, to say that, hey, educators, the things that you're stressed about the things that you're concerned about, those are concerns that are being talked about in rooms all the way to the very top. And I think that's really, really important. And that kind of gives us a framework for how frontline educators can start to engage in advocacy work in those arenas as well. But just to get started, can you introduce yourself, kind of what your work looks like. And I'm, particularly I'm a little interested in how you got into early childhood in the first place.


Shannon Rudisill  02:49

I'm really happy to be with you. And I wish we had actual educators in the room with us today to talk I love that's one of my favorite things, and I don't get to do it as much anymore. I'm Shannon Rudisill. And I am currently the Executive Director of the Early Childhood funders collaborative. That's a professional association of foundations that give in the early childhood space to early care and education but also infant early childhood mental health. Parenting supports family support home visiting. So we're a learning and collective action group of funders. Prior to that, almost all of my career like the you know, I've been doing this five years, but the prior 25 years, I was an early childhood policy and the national level I worked in the federal government at the Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services, and we'll call it ACF Administration for Children and Families. ACF is probably known to your listeners, but they don't know they know it, right. That's the agency that runs Headstart, and also runs the childcare subsidy program, which goes by a different name in every state, but most of the money is national and comes from that agency. So I ran the Childcare and Development Fund, which is the childcare subsidy program for President Obama for almost eight years. And in terms of how I got into this work, it goes back to college because when I was in college, I took a job I was I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I was trying to decide if I wanted to be a teacher what I wanted to do so I took a job at during spring break. I applied for a job for summer at our local childcare center in my neighborhood in Charlotte. And this is before North Carolina had so much progress in Smart Start right this is like right before Smart Start happened right before things started to improve in North Carolina. And I'll be honest, the quality in the program was not good. I was a little shocked by it and you know, but I also saw But the educators in the program, were couldn't pay their bills either, right? Like nobody was in a good spot in that program. You know, I feel like the educators weren't supported. They were under a lot of stress that was coming out with the kids. It was a low income working family population. So they were, you know, with broken down cars trying to get back and forth to work. And I was just really surprised, I had a different image of what it would be like I thought it would be more like a little preschool image I had in my mind, right. And then I went back to college, I was at Duke University. And I got a work study job in the childcare at Duke, which was heavily subsidized by the university. And it was a totally different environment, you know, that it was it was accredited by Nic, the teachers were able to get benefits through the university, they had healthcare, they had retirement, the parents paid on a sliding fee scale. So the doctors paid full rate and the food service staff did not, you know, that really, I don't want to go on too long with this story. But that was it for me, right. I was like the passion that only a 20 year old can have like, I have found a social problem that no one is screaming. Yeah, I must fix this. So that's how I got into it. 


Wesley Mayes  06:18

Yeah, that's an awesome story. How did you go from sort of the policy side to the position that you're at now? Is there anything that caused you to sort of shift from that to this?


Shannon Rudisill  06:31

So I will say it's more seamless than that. I mean, I had been in the government my entire career, which you know, in this day, and age is not common, just stay in one sector, your whole career. So I wanted to look at this from a different angle, which is partially why, when you're a political appointee, you also don't have any choice about when to leave, right. ministration, though, I still believe that government is probably the place you can make the biggest imprint. But this position has been really a great one for me to reflect on what I learned when I was in the government. And also, it's very important at early childhood funders collaborative, that our members, our foundation members, and the other folks we know, in philanthropy, fund advocacy and organizing, like that is a key component is that we encourage people who are private philanthropists to fund advocacy and organizing, because most things that private philanthropy can fund, say, teacher training, or some sort of classroom curriculum development or some sort of research. Those things are important. It's good philanthropy funds them, they can also be funded by government programs or other sources. One of the only things that can only be funded by private sources is advocacy and organizing, right? You can't spend the government money on that. So you know, to me, it's a little bit seamless in terms of thinking about, wow, we need so much more change than we were able to make. And we're only going to get there with more advocacy and organizing. And the only people who can fund advocacy and organizing our private people. Sure. And that's it can be philanthropists, it can be individuals, right? Joining membership groups, but it's all its private action.


Wesley Mayes  08:27

And that's a really cool spot for you to be in too, because this kind of goes back to where you were at at 20. And in solving that social problem, you know, you're able to support work that directly supports people who may be in the position that you were at 20.


Alex Farrell  08:43

Yeah, it's interesting. So I was introduced to you at our conference, the teaching wages conference in North Carolina. And I remember one thing that you said at that conference was, generally speaking, if we had had frontline educators at the table, in making policy decisions from day one, that it's possible that we wouldn't have a lot of the glaring issues within the field that we have now. And so that that question kind of is a good segue into, like what aside from you saying the activating private philanthropists is like a huge part of your job, like what feels really urgent to you as far as kind of like bringing in these frontline voices, the lived experiences of educators to the table. When we're talking about policy things that affect everyone.


Shannon Rudisill  09:35

We have to we need transformation, right? small incremental changes that we've worked on, I've worked on many people have worked on, we're not getting far enough fast enough. And I think anybody who you know has worked on the frontline knows this better than than I do. I'm quite frankly getting paid right now many times for the personal, you know, the average educators getting paid. So I don't I'm not the right one to put reach. But I know that we need big transformation. And I know we will not get there without more Involvement by people who are most affected by our childcare crisis. And that's our educators and our parents. And I can think about, we won't get transformation, we might continue to get technical solutions. And the thing that I was talking about that at that meeting were like, some technical solutions that I'm really proud I worked on, right, like, let's, let's take CQRS, right, it's a technical solution that we've been working on for a long time. And what we've learned is, it is not transformational in terms of the working conditions and compensation of educators. It you know, it improves quality incrementally, we might get these technical solutions, because people like me, or we're smart, we can think them up. They even make sense in a theoretical way. Without educators on that many people were telling us, like, see this gaping hole, see that gaping hole, right? See how that's not going to solve this problem. So we've likely won't get very many technical solutions, and the ones that we get are going to fall way short for what educators and families need if we don't have educators and families at the table. So I just don't see how we're going to get where we need to go. Without it. You know, and I think if you look at like CQRS is a great example. Right? The design of it makes sense for certain things. But the way it was implemented in terms of, okay, we'll pay people more, not even individual teachers will pay programs more when they jump through the following hoops. Sure. It makes sense. You need to pay people upfront to do these things, right? And we'd have more people more, quite frankly, angry, I can respond to differently--


Wesley Mayes  12:10

Getting educators to the table. And I mean, like, in your words, getting angry is important. Right? Do you have any examples? Because I think it's, I think it's one thing to talk about these topics, right? But without some concrete examples of this working of, of advocacy and collective action, working, it's hard to connect with that. Do you have any good examples of this really paying off?


Shannon Rudisill  12:37

Yeah, we're beginning to see a ton of examples. And the thing that I think I would want people to know is, we're growing on movement building, and we're growing on organizing. And one of the things that I have learned and I no way want to put myself out as an expert, because I am the student of this more than I am the teacher is one of the things I've learned since I left the government. We were talking to a lot of professional advocates, I love professional advocates, they dedicate their careers to this, you guys probably consider yourselves advocates. I consider myself an advocate. But advocates can't do their work without organizing and power building. Right. And so one of the things that we've done in our current job in my current job is we've started this pool, the color pool fund, a lot of foundations put their money together. And because we wanted to fund more organizers, I'm like, this is a missing link, my colleague who had been in the administration with me, we both saw it as a missing link. So we've been funding grassroots groups led by parents and educators around the country to directly organize to make change. And I brought a ton of examples like we have some parent examples. But I, I brought a bunch of teacher examples because that's who you're talking to. One example. New Mexico is really doing a bang up job on this. They have had a lot of progress lately. And they have an amazing group in New Mexico. The acronym is Ole, which is beautiful, but it stands for an even cooler thing. Organizers in the land of enchantment. Oh, man, magical. Yes. So Ole has been organizing educators for a long time. And one of their first wins was around hazard pay in the pandemic. They were one of the first places that got hazard pay, put into payments during the pandemic for early educators, which was a great win. And they actually took two bites at it. They did it one time and found that they changed the way that the money was flowing to programs. But there were some technical and quite frankly, probably some power issues that kept the money from getting into educators paychecks, they went back a second time and made sure the money got actually to the educators and then in a bigger coalition. They work together and they just had a constitutional amendment propose that will make early education a constitutional right. And they've got their eye on a state revenue stream that will bring $125 million annually. Wow. And they're putting this up for a vote in November 22. On the ballot, so that New Mexico is a great example, the other one that I know people will want to hear about, and I'm gonna, I'm started with these two very, very big ones. But then like, I brought a few smaller ones too, because I don't want people to think like, oh, my gosh, that just seemed out of touch. But you got to know about this one. And then we can talk about like the baby steps. Yeah. The other ones talk about is the under three DC Coalition, which has a number of different organizer, family childcare at the table, we got at YC. At the table, we've got this great neighborhood organizing group called spaces in action, just numerous people at the table in DC, they recently got the DC Council to approve an increase in taxes on the highest earners, that will generate $70 million a year, no matter what you see is like one, you know, once a day, for early childhood compensation, lead teachers, assistant teachers and family childcare providers will get direct checks that total between 10 and $14,000 a year from the government of DC.


Wesley Mayes  16:23

That's no, that's amazing.


Alex Farrell  16:26

No, that's incredible.


Shannon Rudisill  16:28

That was like a decade or more of organizing together and building this coalition. Right. So. So those two examples are kind of our shining examples, right? Mexico and DC. They're very different. You know, they're very different. Um, but I don't want folks to be like, we can never do that. Right. Because they didn't think they could do it either. A decade ago. Yeah. Um, so here's a couple of other like examples that I think might resonate a little like, you know, Oh, okay. Here's how we can get started. Right? I don't know if you guys have family, childcare, educators who listen to your podcast, you have some people checkered? Yeah, for us. Yeah. So nine to five, Georgia is one of our grantees. And, and I, you know, Georgia might sound more similar to Tennessee listeners than some of the other places I name. Nine to five, Georgia is one of our grantees for raising Child Care Fund. And they, their proposal was to look at home based educators. And organizing is different than advocacy advocacy is the professional advocates analyze, maybe talk to educators, and they're like, Okay, here's what we think we get out of legislature, right? Organizing is like, let's sit with people and find out what they think the problem is and what they want to work on. And in this case, the home based educators wanted to work on zoning and homeowners association rules that were making it impossible for them to grow their businesses and become licensed and do their jobs. And quite frankly, I don't think that would have been a priority that like an outside group would have necessarily chosen. Right. So they partnered with a policy organization to do a lot of policy analysis around like, what are the zoning rules? What are the issues, let's talk to people so that the policy groups in the policy advocates need to work hand in hand with the homebase educators. Um, but they're, they're making progress right on helping people understand the way zoning is keeping them from being able to be licensed and grow their businesses.


Wesley Mayes  18:34

And I think I like what you did there, were you connected the organizing to the advocacy, and then that, that, together, made something like this possible, right? Those two groups working together to make policy changes, we're finding that zoning can be different, not only by county, but by zip code. Yeah. And so it's just different all over the state. And so when we try to tackle an issue, it's going to look different, and it might look different, in like, a little tiny, you know, a little rural community. And that's where the power of the organizing comes in. Right? Because the people who are in those communities know that better than you know, maybe the policy level makers can because it's just different and it's there's so much.


Shannon Rudisill  19:25

Yeah, I think that was the reason I appreciated that example is because of what it taught me right, which was like, the power of it is people expressing where their own pain point is and working from their own, you know, getting support to work on where they find their own pain point to be. And then in Alabama, one of my just a group that has my heart because of the it's the way that it links civil rights organizing, an early educator organizing and racial justice organizing, the Alabama Institute for Social Justice. It has been working for a long time with actually, African Americans, center owners and directors in Alabama that have had, you know, very little voice in the system. They've been trying for years to get more voice in the system. And they just secured. And this is where it took Baby steps, quarterly meetings with the head of their State Department. Right. Nice. So it's like not, you know, they're not, that's where it starts, you know, that's where it starts is getting to demanding a place at the table, right.


Wesley Mayes  20:36

And I really liked the, you know, the example of DC that you gave, and this, you know, contrasting each other, right? Because that took, what, a decade, 10 years to get to where they're at. But it starts with something like this with just being at the table. And I think it's really easy to want to have change. Now. And I mean, I think that we all can agree that change now is what we need, right? But ultimately, it's those baby steps,


Shannon Rudisill  21:06

we have an overall problem in the United States, in my opinion, with individualizing everything. And if something's not working, or you're in pain, if you're you didn't make the right choice somewhere along the line. Right, yeah. Which allows systemic oppression and systems that aren't working for families and systems that aren't working for pretty much all care workers. You know, whether you're talking about aging, or childcare or disability like. And, you know, I think that that, that level of stress, and what can be some pretty poor working conditions, quite frankly, in the field, it just keeps reinforcing that, right, like, what you were talking about is like people questioning their own place in this field. And I think that leads to people thinking that it's something they're doing or something they're not doing. And in talking to the folks who are doing this organizing, again, I want to be really clear, I'm the student, not the teacher, is the first thing that people have to do is be able to see that they are in a state that there's a system, right, there's a system of oppression, there's a system that's not working. And it's not just about over are really very much about the individual choices, or the individuals situation that they're in. Right. And then I think that's part of what what allows you to zoom out and start working on that. I think the other thing that was really interesting to me, is the organizers we work with celebrate every tiny win, right? So like there is a lot of celebration amid something that we're talking about, and kind of like terms that have to do with I don't know, being angry and grabbing power all these things. If you if you're hanging out with the organizers, it is a it's a different it's an a more emotionally authentic environment. That involves people being together in their pain and also together in their celebration.


Wesley Mayes  23:12

Yeah. Wow, that's amazing. I mean, it really is where self care podcast right at our heart. And I think this is like Alex was saying the way to connect that to self care. We're not alone, right. But it's very easy to feel that way. If we're not reaching out if we're not cultivating community. And this organizing is just a fantastic way to do that. Because the things that we're feeling, if we're in the field, and I say, We but of course, I'm not an educator, you know, an educator may be feeling a certain way. And there's a good chance that all of their colleagues are feeling the same way about a lot of these same issues, and being able to connect and recognize that, hey, you're not alone in this is I mean, that is self care. Right. And, you know, I think going back to the way you got into this work, is another great thing that we need to remember, you know, you talked about these two different childcare facilities that you worked at. And the one that was maybe a little bit more low income. Everyone there was was probably struggling, not just the educator, but the director, right. These two things like when we talk about a system, you know, we want to acknowledge every person in Is there a way that that that organizing can sort of encapsulate all levels, right, and then approach these bigger problems and be considerate of all all of the workers, right, all of the people who are on the front line,


Shannon Rudisill  24:49

I'm so glad you brought that up, because that is part of what I think has had us stuck, right. So I feel like this is an important point. Part of the reason I think that we have been so So stuck is because everybody is suffering. So if I'm an educator and I'm making a very low wage, I'm looking at the parents, who are, you know, taking a couple of buses, or whose cars always breaking down, or who had to go to the subsidy office to like and take time off work to not lose their job to get some of them stuck, and I'm thinking they can't pay anymore. So I'm not gonna be able to make more or I look at the director, who, you know, the director where I worked, we used to have Kmart back then she was putting her kids Christmas presents on layaway at Kmart. You know, and she was the director, she was my boss, right? No, I was. And then if you look at you know, and we know that some owners have gone without paychecks to pay their people, right. And so if you look at the owner, the teacher and the parent, everybody's suffering, and I think it's keeping us stuck, because especially the educators are like, well, I know, they can't afford to pay me more. And I know the parents can't pay them more. So I guess I'm stuck. And the trick here, and I think that, look, I just I know this to be true. public investment is the only way out of that there is not another country where we have done this without massive public investment. And so what that really means is, each of those groups is supposed to thinking that we're in this triangle of suffering, and nobody can get out of it, because it would make more pain for another person we care about in the triangle. Everybody is going to have to turn toward public investment. And there have been examples of that. I heard an example one time, and it was awhile ago. So I don't remember all the details, I only remember the lesson I took, which was it was it was a town in Ohio, a city. And they were working on a local referendum for money. And they had organizers working separately with directors and owners, parents and teachers. So there were different organizers that were authentic to each of those groups, but they were working in a coalition with each other. And it was very clear that the solution to the problem was the referendum to bring more money to ease the pain for all three groups, right?


Alex Farrell  27:18

You know, we've been talking about you've given a lot of really great tangible examples. I think it's it's really important that we kind of shift this conversation to the how, like, how to get started, how to, like, how can educators, if they're like, Okay, they've heard a little bit of what we've talked about, and like, okay, that makes a lot of sense to me, I just don't know, don't know where to get started. kind of start to pave that path for our listeners.


Shannon Rudisill  27:42

So I would say that we don't know where the folks who are listening necessarily live, right. So I'm going to give you I'm going to start with the most likely to be able to find place. Right. And that is your local at YC. Affiliate. Because I feel like we have a lot of groups. I've mentioned a bunch of groups that are doing really great work. There are many other, you know, state level advocacy organizations doing great work. But I feel like the one of the best coverages we have is our at YC affiliates. And I feel like that's a place educators will be able to find will be comfortable with and will know about. I think that's a great place to start. They vary in terms of their advocacy, interests and capacity, like any I mean, it's mostly voluntary groups, early educators who are busy and have their own lives, right. So some of them are probably really strong and policy advocacy, some may be less so. But the national organization in NYC is really working on building their will they have a great and they're working on even building more advocacy, an organizing muscle. So if you get to your local or you're saying at YC affiliate, and you're like this is awesome, I'm getting great professional development, I feel like we can be stronger and advocacy and organizing, like then you could play that role. Right? You can be contacting the national and trying to build that muscle even more. So that would be the first place I would go. Because I think we have really good coverage. Right? Yeah. The other thing I would say is there is a growing, there is a growing movement, because people when you were talking a lot about power now, which was something we did not use to talk about, like that is not like talking about power, you know, is different. So there's a lot more power building organizations out there working on this. And if you're in geography that has one, I would go there. It's just not it's clear, right? I've mentioned a bunch, right. So if you're one of the places that I mentioned example you can connect. The other place you might look is there's a new national movement building table that's going to bring together the advocates and the organizers called childcare for every family. Okay, so you can google childcare For every family network, they are just growing. They just hired their CO executive directors, and they have a list of people who join them. And if you happen to be a home based like in people's homes educator, you must learn about the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the National Domestic Workers Alliance is a membership organization, you can join, they have got domestic workers, bills of rights moving all across the country that move toward paid time off, better working conditions. So I think there's a place for everybody to plug in.


Wesley Mayes  30:38

And I think ultimately, the strength in any of these is the connection like we were talking about. So any of these things, once you reach out, whether that's a you at YC, or another one of the organizations you talked about, you're building relationships, right. And I think that that's a great way to start, even if it's not exactly, you know, what you might want to be involved with, in the end, maybe you'll find a connection through there. Because you because you've built relationships.


Alex Farrell  31:10

So Shannon, we've we've really enjoyed this conversation. It's a different kind of conversation than one that we've ever had on this podcast. But I think it's one that's really important. But comes back to, as Wes said, community finding, finding like minded individuals, as you said, I thought that was a really beautiful sentiment of finding a community of people to experience or problems together and your victories together, is I thought it was really beautifully stated, that's going to be a takeaway for me. So we usually like to end our episodes with our guests talking about what they do for self care. And then also after that, if you could just give a little word of encouragement to our educators out there.


Shannon Rudisill  31:48

So I love your guys philosophy on this podcast, because I have and we're being very positive, so on, I have like a little rant about the way that self care is conceived of in, like, give her you know, whatever, give somebody a spa gift card, right? And send him off into a dark room with somebody who like, as opposed to, like, be together. And so for me, like self care is being together, you know, and, and so that's really, for me, it's like friends, especially and just being together and and I think it's a little bizarre that we've come to define self care, it seems like as like, consumerism and buying things or whatever, you know, for me, it's it's all about being together. And tonight. I'm doing one of my favorite things for self care, which is karaoke.


Alex Farrell  32:39

Karaoke. We No, no, no,


Shannon Rudisill  32:42

no, no, no. I live I'm very privileged to live in Northern Virginia. And we have the only national park for the Performing Arts Wolf Trap, which is and that's where I'm going tonight. So I'm gonna go here some, some live music and like lay out on the lawn there with my friends. You can bring your own foods you don't have to pay an exorbitant amount. And you know, picnic with friends and listen to Bonnie Raitt. Listen to Williams and just hang out under the stars at the National Park for the Performing Arts. That kind of thing. It's like being together with people seeing some arts. Hopefully some that aren't too expensive, is one of my favorites.


Alex Farrell  33:24

And that sounds like a terrible start to the weekend, doesn't it? Yeah,


Wesley Mayes  33:27

I'm definitely going to be driving up.


Alex Farrell  33:31

And then finally, do you have a word of encouragement for educators out there?


Shannon Rudisill  33:34

I do. I want to tell you, you guys gave me a cue about this. And I struggled with this should be so easy, right? Because I've done this my whole career, I've given speeches and talked about the importance of educators. But the reason I struggle with it is because I don't want it to just sound like words, like people need change, you know, and it's like, kind of easy to be like your work is so important, which it is right? But we've got to have changed, like words aren't enough. So I'll say this. Educators have done amazing things for me personally, early educators, right. I and I'll give you one example. Like my kid used to cry every morning when I dropped him off for before care at school and he would cry and cry and cry and then the teacher knew I cried all the way work for years. Okay, not just for like two weeks like this went on for year, like the whole year old kindergarten year. She would call me in my car and tell me when he stopped crying. Yeah, um, because she knew I cried all the way. And so I know you guys are doing that kind of thing for parents. Everyday still, I mean, that was some years ago, but you guys are doing that, you know, everyday still. And yet that's not enough. We got to change your situation together so that you're not getting paid poverty wages and not knowing you know, what you're going to do for health care or what your retirement is gonna look like. So my other words It would be like this is not an individual problem. This is a system problem. If you cannot make ends meet, it is not because of your personal failure. It is because we have a societal failure. And a lot of folks want to join together with you to try to build up enough power, enough political power to make that change. But it's gonna take all of us and we're gonna have to move together Together, we can move it.


Alex Farrell  35:36

Well, Shannon Rudisill, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today and we hope you have a fantastic week.


Shannon Rudisill  35:40

Yeah, I enjoyed it very much. Thanks for having me.


Alex Farrell  35:44

Absolutely. Take care. Thank you for tuning into the podcast today. This podcast is funded through a grant with the Tennessee Department of Human Services and signal centers. Signal centers is a nonprofit in Chattanooga, Tennessee, whose mission is to strengthen children, adults and families through services focusing on disabilities early childhood education and self sufficiency.


Wesley Mayes  36:05

If you'd like to leave a review a comment or have a suggestion for a future episode. Please do so on our Instagram account at lean into you pod. That's one word at lean into you pod. Follow us on Instagram for weekly self care tips clips from our episodes and graphic takeaways from many of the talking points from our conversations. Thanks again for listening to the lean into podcast and we hope you have a fantastic week.