By Jamar Day, Community Organizer
On a bright, beautiful sunny 77-degree day, dozens of moms, families, early educators, family caregivers, and advocates gathered on the National Mall with congressional champions for the MomsRising #CareCantWait rally. DC Action and its signature campaign, Under 3 DC, joined the National Women’s Law Center, the Low Income Investment Fund , and more than 50 other local and national advocacy groups to strongly support the Biden administration’s human infrastructure plan currently under debate in Congress.
The plan includes paid family/medical leave, affordable child care, expanded senior care, the Child Tax Credit , a living wage for workers in the care sector, and a path to citizenship for undocumented care workers. It could be life-changing for the District’s Black and brown families struggling to recover from the pandemic. It could also begin to address systemic financial inequities that have plagued many of the District’s communities for generations.
Although this was a national rally, it matters to the communities in which I live and work. Amanda Brown Lierman, executive director of Supermajority and Supermajority Education Fund and a mom, spoke for all of them when she said that life remains ridiculously complicated for women. “To be prepared for the curve balls life is going to throw at us, we need the care infrastructure.” Another strong “Superhero” was Rev. Harriet Bradley from SEIU. She shared with the crowd that she knows the proud feeling of bringing home a living wage, but life is different for her as a caregiver today. She has no sick days, paid time off, or any other support to help her in times of need. Rev Harriet (as she prefers to be called) told the crowd, “God takes care of me, but I should not have to depend on my faith to take a day off.”
Of the many congressional champions in attendance, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) was one of my favorites. She reminded the crowd that Thursday, October 21, is #LatinaEqualPayDay, stating that it takes “10 months and 21 days for Latinas to earn what their white male counterparts earned for the same work last year. She ended her remarks by saying, “Closing this wage gap should be a no-brainer. I’m proud to make clear what working Americans already know—#CareCantWait! Investments in paid leave, child care, and home-based care must be included in our Build Back Better Agenda.”
TIME’S UP Chief Operating Officer Monifa Bandele drove the economic argument home for the crowd. She said, “There can not be any recovery without care.” According to Bandele, research shows that the Care Infrastructure Plan would increase the GDP by $300 million, “with jobs filled primarily by women.”