Alicia Garza on inequality and protecting workers

Alicia Garza, special projects director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), believes inequality is a political consequence. She explains how federal labor protections have previously excluded domestic workers. However, the NDWA has had many recent wins, changing state labor laws to include domestic workers, and some of these wins will also strengthen labor protections for all workers. 


ALICIA GARZA: Inequality is a political consequence, whether it be the inequality that exists between men and women. The inequality that exists among races and ethnic groups. The inequality that exists among people of different social and economic classes. But what’s exciting and what’s important to know about inequality is that it’s a human developed condition, which means that we can undo it. It can be fixed.

[Inequality is logo. A graphic black equal sign with an orange slash through it. #InequalityIs. Alicia Garza, special projects director, National Domestic Workers Alliance. A Black woman with long black braids, wearing a turquoise top under a black cardigan with differing detailed shapes.]

Domestic workers are predominantly women of color. Mostly now immigrant women. Low income women. Those things can’t be seen as separate. They absolutely go hand in hand. Domestic workers are building an intersectional movement, but part of what that also requires is a cultural shift. An understanding that women’s work is work. We’ve been fighting state by state to make sure that the people who care for us, and the people who care for the people that we love the most are also taken care of. Domestic workers have been excluded from federal labor protections. And there have been many attempts to retool labor law to allow for domestic workers to enjoy the same protections as other workers. And I see them winning bills that reestablish a floor for domestic workers and all workers. When I see them innovating on those bills to include things like maternity leave, and paid sick days, and the right to evaluate your employer, my own freedom dreams are ignited. We suffer as a society from bouts of cynicism that tells us that this is just the way that things are. But I’m somebody who believes that anything is possible, and that our fight is to make the impossible possible in our lifetime, and I believe very deeply that we can do that.

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