We Are Voices and Choices for Children

Voices & Choices MinnesotaVoices and Choices for Children Steering Committee Members with Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith

Who We Are

Voices and Choices for Children is a coalition that works closely with Minnesota’s Children’s Cabinet, state ethnic councils, state agencies, early childhood funders, non-profits, community-based organizations, early childhood advocates and parents representing communities of color and American Indian communities across the state. Our coalition focuses on developing strongly engaged cultural communities of learning, organizing and advocacy for their, input, and impact in shaping more equitable practices and policies that will support better outcomes for children of color and American Indian children prenatal to 8 years old across the state. We believe that people of color and American Indians must be at the table as polices are created and decisions made about and for our children.

The coalition prioritizes the voices of organizations, advocates and parents of color and American Indians working across early childhood sectors to more meaningfully engage and empower communities of color and American Indians—many of whom have traditionally been under-served by the existing early childhood education and child-development infrastructure.


Our goal is to ensure all children of color and American Indian children and their families have the opportunity to thrive and live their fullest lives. Our vision is that no child in Minnesota faces the systemic devaluing, undermining, disadvantaging or marginalizing of their individual identities through policies, practices, programs and attitudes that don’t fully affirm their cultural background, race, ability and experience. Our vision is for a state in which we have parents, advocates and leaders of color and American Indians enabled to exercise their collective power to promote their own solutions, visions and values for society based on increasing more equitable outcomes for their children and communities.

Voices and Choices for Children Steering Committee

Coalition Honorary Co-Chair, 
Melvin Carter III
Governor Dayton’s Children’s Cabinet

Coalition Honorary Co-Chair, 
State Representative Peggy Flanagan
MN State House of Representatives

Steering Committee Co-Chair, 
Dianne Haulcy
Think Small

Steering Committee Co-Chair, 
Chong Lee
Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood

Sheila Williams Ridge
U of M - Institute of Child Development

Fartun Weli

Phillipe Cunningham
Minneapolis Mayor Hodges’ Office

Cardina Esparza
Wilder Foundation

Bharti Wahi
Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota

Kamyala Howard
People Serving People

Betty Emarita
Development and Training, Inc.

Nelson Perez
SPPS – Office of Early Learning

Lulete Mola
Greater Twin Cities United Way



Attn: Voices and Choice’s for Children (CDF-MN)
555 Park Street, Suite 410
St. Paul, MN 55103

Phone: 651-855-1187
Email: info@voicesandchoicesmn.com