The HEARTS team met folks from Californians for Safety and Justice (CSJ) in April last year when they contacted us about AB2701, a bill that sought to create a state-wide grant program for providers of school-based trauma services using the HEARTS program approach as a model. Dr. Dorado and I worked with the team just before it was presented and I was excited to testify at a hearing about the bill. I went to Sacramento day before to see another hearing taking place and spent hours talking with members of the team about my testimony.
I was so nervous that morning that I was sweating even in the freezing cold courtroom. When it was finally my turn to talk, I literally had less than 60 seconds. For those of you who have seen me speak, you know that limiting my talk time was something like torture for me.
I felt like I was doing fine at first, and then the Committee Chair, Reginald B. Jones-Sawyer, Sr., smiled at me. I was thinking, “Yes! He’s totally interested in what I’m saying!” Then he made a little circle with his index finger in the time-honored sign for “wrap it up.” My last line was less than eloquent. In June we found out that the bill was held in the assembly appropriations committee, which meant that it wouldn’t move forward in that legislative session.
Last week we heard from the team at CSJ again, and I met them to talk about Assembly Bill 258. This is a bill that they are working on that would increase in-school support services to pupils in order to break down barriers to academic success. I’m excited to work with this amazing group of people again and hopeful about the supports that might come of this work.