1,000 Amazing Women: What It Really Looks Like When We All Work Hand in Hand
You’ve probably heard phrases like “we’re all interconnected” tossed around, whether on an inspirational Facebook post or at a religious service. It can be an easy idea to agree with but a harder one to picture. What does that really mean? What does it look like in daily life?
When we, a group of 25 Hand in Hand members, including seniors, people with disabilities, working moms, and more, traveled to Washington DC last month for two monumental events, the National Domestic Workers Alliance Assembly, and the first ever We Won’t Wait Summit, we got to see what it really looks like when we see all our issues and lives as connected.
It looks like a stream of women in matching red t-shirts, chanting “We won’t wait!” and “Si se puede! Si se puede!”
It looks like talking about reproductive rights, child care and elder care, voting rights, criminal justice, and immigration all in one conversation.
It looks like a very unusual little sign at the side of the conference center ballroom, just a plain piece of paper with an arrow pointing the way to “Childcare.”
Themed Dignity, Unity and Power, the Assembly had the participation of rich and diverse groups of domestic workers — nannies, house cleaners, home attendants — representing LGBTQ groups, immigrants and women of color. By joining them and bringing the employer perspective, we saw how we can play an important role in the domestic work and caregiving movements. We participated in several workshops and panels, including our own workshop on how workers can engage with their own employers in conversation about their work.
Being at the domestic workers’ Assembly reminds us of our interdependence and renewed our energy to work for better labor standards for all workers and families. And just when we thought we couldn’t be more inspired, we were joined by another 500 women from around the country, from different organizations and movements to discuss what kind of comprehensive policy agenda would serve all of us.
We came with our staff and a nearly twenty-person phalanx of members! Some came from the Jewish social justice world, others from the disability rights movement in California. Our Fair Care Pledge partner, Care.com’s Sheila Marcos, was there too!
We heard women’s stories about how hard it is to juggle work and raising their own children, and we thought, yes, we know about that.
We heard stories about bad experiences with work. Stories of trying to make ends meet, working a full-time job while also raising kids and helping aging parents, and we thought, yes, we know about that.
Our own members, Nikki Brown-Booker and Monique Harris, gave incredibly powerful testimonies about their experiences at the intersections of race, gender violence, disability, and workers’ rights. As Nikki said, “When the domestic worker I employ has dignity, I have more dignity. It shows there is dignity in the work of supporting me.”
We left Washington DC believing more firmly than ever that what we all need is a women-and-families agenda that puts our lives and our ability to thrive at the center of America’s plans for the future.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. And we won’t wait for change to come. Here are 3 things you can do now to show that you don’t want to wait either!
- Join our next “My Home Is Someone’s Workplace” webinar and learn more about living your values as an employer of a nanny, house cleaner, or home care attendant.
- Sign the Fair Care Pledge to show you’re living your values (and get more support!).
- Declare that you won’t wait, and commit to using your actions, your voice, and your vote this November.
— WeWontWait2016 (@WeWontWait2016) September 19, 2016
— Hand in Hand (@HiHemployers) September 20, 2016