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Strolling Thunder March Raises Awareness For Babies And Toddlers

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Beki Clinkenbeard
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More than 200 parents with toddlers marched on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Their purpose? Raise awareness about babies.

"Yeah, so right now everyone is just walking around the Capitol and we have all of our signs and strollers," said advocate Beki Clinkenbeard. “It’s just a nice, peaceful walk. We have some people saying, ‘Babies! Babies!’"

She traveled from St. George to Washington D.C. to march at the Capitol with her husband and 10-month-old son, Jackson. Clinkenbeard and her husband both work full-time jobs, but they don’t make enough money to afford childcare.

Since she works at a daycare center, Clinkenbeard takes her son with her to work. But not all families can afford that luxury, she said. She wants federal lawmakers to remember toddlers when making decisions on issues like childcare funding and paid work leave.

“These kids are our future. These are our future doctors, our future surgeons, our future celebrities," she continued.

The national nonprofit organization ZERO TO THREE planned the “Strolling Thunder” march, and organizers selected families from every state in the nation to meet with Congress members. The march isn't to advocate specific legislation, according to ZERO TO THREE executive director Matthew Melmed.

“This was really designed to help elevate into the public debate the needs of babies and toddlers and their families and how policymakers could respond to those very real needs," he said.  “This really was about saying that Congress needs to be thinking about babies in anything that they do, and the implications for their decision making with regards to that.”