These words come from Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Before I was an organizer, I was a domestic worker and caregiver in my roles as a nanny and a doula.
Those experiences make me a better organizer. I’m more compassionate and patient with others. I feel deeply that no one is disposable. I see the value of self-care. I know that community care is necessary for my well-being and the well-being of others. Being a domestic worker and caregiver helped me understand why we must move funding away from police, see the connections between our education system and care, and catalyze my reproductive justice work. The foundation of my nanny, doula, and organizing work is care. Care activates our connection and commitment to each other.
COVID has exacerbated our already-dire care crisis. Childcare and prescription drugs are costly. Our most essential workers are treated as disposable. It makes me angry and sad that we don’t have healthcare for all and that people rely on GoFundMe to pay their medical bills. We don’t have strong and consistent paid leave policies. We don’t have accessible and science-based abortion care. It shouldn’t be this way. It doesn’t have to be this way.
What would our world look like if we centered our connections – and systems – around friendship instead of marriage? How can we best support and honor reproductive labor and child care workers? Watching A Message From The Future II: The Years of Repair helps me imagine a world deeply rooted in care. It’s a powerful and necessary re-frame. Radical imagination and political courage around care are required from us to make it through this pandemic.
If you’re itching for some action around care, sign up for our community text bank.
We’re going to be texting Minnesotans about how COVID is impacting them and what they’ll need as we head into winter. If you didn’t take our winter COVID survey yet, be sure to do that too. We want to hear from you. How are you staying close and connected to your loved ones this holiday season? How are you keeping holiday ritual and traditions alive? Let me know by emailing me. I can’t wait to hear your story.