Staff Writer

rsoiland_osgood.jpgDavie will be the site of The Broward “Milk Party” rally, the 15th stop on a tour to launch a statewide citizen-led, non-partisan initiative leading to what organizers expect will be a major gubernatorial debate on the status of Florida’s children.

The tour, coordinated by The Children’s Movement of Florida, began in Pensacola on Sept. 6 and will end in Key West on Sept. 30.

The project – complete with a large, brightly colored Children’s Express tour bus – is intended to convey the message to Floridians that, regardless of their party affiliation, the state’s children should be everyone’s priority.

Broward's “Milk Party” will take place 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, at Bailey Concert Hall at the Broward College Central Campus. It is part celebration and part call to action, with appearances by movement leaders, children’s advocates and Miami Dolphins Mascot “TD,” as well as performances by Hip Hop Kidz dance crew, Dillard High School Marching Band, Dillard Performing Arts Jazz Combo, and St. Thomas Aquinas High School Jazz Ensemble.

The tour will move to  Miami-Dade Wednesday, Sept. 29, where a rally will take place at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W Flagler St., at 6:30-7:30 p.m.

“The crowds flocking to these Milk Parties demonstrate that citizens who care about early childhood issues in Florida have the power and ability to demand – and produce – change on behalf of our children,” said David Lawrence Jr., president and co-chairman of The Children's Movement of Florida, founding chairman of The Children's Trust of Miami-Dade County and retired publisher of The Miami Herald.

According to the Children’s Movement, the need for action is clear. Florida regularly ranks in the bottom half among states in child health, largely due to a high rate of babies born underweight and children dying within their first year of life.

Hundreds of thousands of children in Florida are not covered by health insurance and the state's pre-K program does not meet most national standards.

“Our children and their families need us now more than ever,” said Dr. Rosalind Osgood, president and
CEO, Mount Olive Development Corporation and Broward steering committee member of the Children’s Movement.

Osgood said it’s time for the community to raise its voice for all children. The organizers are hopeful that
a groundswell of public support at the rally will influence decision-makers when it comes to helping children to get necessary services.

“This is not about raising taxes; it’s about raising children and the future of our community,” Osgood said.

Milk Party attendees –  from Pensacola to Key West  – are being urged to press Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott to join Democrat Alex Sink for the televised debate devoted exclusively to children's issues.  The debate is being organized by  The Children's Movement of Florida and is set for Oct. 16 at the University of Miami.


Pictured:  Dr. Rosiland Osgood