Things That Matter

AOC Is Teaming Up With Other Congresswomen To Give Domestic Workers Equal Employee Rights And We Are Here For This

@domesticworkers / Twitter

After over a decade of lobbying, The National Domestic Workers Alliance’s (NDWA) work is on the verge of paying off. This week, Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced legislation that would establish the first-ever National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. 

The bill would effectively include domestic workers as worthy of the same rights as other American workers–including “paid overtime, safe and healthy working conditions, meal and rest breaks, earned sick time, and freedom for workplace harassment,” according to NDWA.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal is leading the charge to ensure this bill is passed into law.

Credit: @RepJayapal / Twitter

“Did you know most domestic workers are not covered by federal anti-discrimination and sexual harassment laws? Well we’re pushing back to change that,” tweets Rep. Jayapal. “My #DomesticWorkersBillofRights will give domestic workers the protections they deserve!”

The bill would grant basic worker’s rights to 2.5 million people in the U.S.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

Of those 2.5 million people, 91 percent are women, mostly women of color. Given that domestic workers aren’t required to be paid even minimum wage, and that their work doesn’t include benefits like health insurance, it’s important to make sure every worker earns a living wage. According to NDWA, 70 percent of domestic workers are paid less than $13 an hour.

The workers who do the heavy lifting in the shadows of our economy may finally be recognized as worthy of rights.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

NDWA has worked hard over the years to make it easier for domestic workers (home care workers, nannies and house cleaners). They even created a web app that would allow clients to contribute to a PTO and benefit fund for domestic workers. This bill would ensure that the government is advocating for every worker, so that domestic workers don’t have to fight so hard to advocate for themselves.

Members of the group broke off to meet with their representative.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

“We had a powerful meeting with @timkaine where our members in Virginia shared stories about abuse and exploitation in the workplace,” the organization tweeted. “Every single worker deserves to work safely and with dignity. Onward to a National #DomesticWorkersBillOfRights!”

The group met with AOC, who opened up about how the bill would help “little girls like [her].”

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

“My mom was a domestic worker,” she tells the group. “As a child I grew up reading books on the staircases of other people’s homes, and doing homework on other people’s dinner tables, because my mom was pursuing domestic work so that I could go on field trips and have a future.”

For AOC, this bill is about reparations for a group of people who often go unseen in this world.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

She praised the group for their advocacy, saying, “When you all are fighting for this, you’re fighting for little girls like me. You’re putting a shirt on a little girl like me’s back. I can’t tell you the reparations it has to see people who are used to being unseen and that’s what this bill does.”

The group also live-tweeted a conversation between several domestic workers and Rep. Jayapal.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

The stories were shocking. A nanny named Thaty shared her experience, saying that “being a nanny takes so much hard work. I don’t know many people who can handle caring for 5 kids under 5 years old! But our work is still considered unskilled. We need to bring our work out of the shadows — so everyone can know what we do and how hard we work.”

Jayapal touched on something deeper than granting legal rights–this issue is about overdue respect.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

So many families rely on domestic workers to come home to a clean home, safe and cared-for children, and more. They’re often not seen as employees but rather, “the help.”

But “The Help” encounter medical issues and injuries while on the job, without any legal protections.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

Domestic workers are not included in federal protections for workers injured while on the job. So when Sylvia shared that she never fully recovered from a bad fall on the job, and though it impedes her ability to continue to work, she just has to grimace through it.

That same Sylvia is an inspiration. She told Rep. Jayapal that her experience “meeting workers who felt too vulnerable at work to raise their own voices forced me to be brave enough to raise my own voice, for me and for them. That’s why I’m part of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.”

We’re rooting for you!

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

As Latinos, so many of our own moms, tías or abuelas have driven this industry that, frankly, serves as the backbone to our economy. They offer support to middle and upper-class families who have money but don’t have time, and their work supports our families. Time to give some respect.

AOC Took Down The Idea Of The Electoral College And Her Argument Is Angering Conservatives

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AOC Took Down The Idea Of The Electoral College And Her Argument Is Angering Conservatives

nrkbeta / Flickr

Republicans love to talk about Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, from the type of car her tía loans her to where she buys her clothes. They especially like to talk about how her Nuyorican upbringing has affected her politics. AOC has been talking about the injustices of the Electoral College for a long time now. On Monday, she took to her Instagram story to educate her followers on why the Electoral College is not such a good thing, an idea that has been gaining traction since the 2016 elections. Fox News “is big mad” about the idea of abolishing the electoral college, which tipped the election in favor of Donald Trump.

In fact, Fox News did an entire news segment on her Instagram story.

Credit: Fox News

The conservative news outlet was disturbed to consider the ugly notion that the Electoral College could be racist, and effectively acted aghast by the accusation. Their guest, Dana Perino, said that she “trusts” the Founding Fathers in that they knew what they were doing.

Obviously, AOC has taken to Twitter to make this civics lesson crystal clear for everyone.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

Before we get too deep, for folks who don’t really get what the big deal is with the Electoral College, let’s simplify the system real quick. When we go to the polls to vote for the president, what we’re really doing is voting which candidate will receive all of your state’s electors. Each state has differing amounts, and it’s a winner-takes-all game in most states. If the majority of voters in say, Pennsylvania, vote for one candidate, then that candidate gets the entire state’s electors. What the Electoral College does for the everyday American is reduce the value of their vote. Moving on.

The GOP wants us to believe that eliminating the Electoral College, will make it so that just “a handful of states determine the presidency.”

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

Actually, that’s what the Electoral College does. The popular vote is simple. Each vote counts as one vote. Punto. The GOP has lost the popular vote in six of the seven last elections.

Then she shot down the GOP “concept that the Electoral College provides “fairness” to rural Americans over coastal states doesn’t hold any water whatsoever.”

Credit: @ocasio2018 / Instagram

In a follow-up tweet, she pointed out that, “First of all, virtually every state has rural communities. NY. California. Much of our states are rural.” Now let’s talk about racism. AOC had pointed out Monday that the Electoral College is premised on somehow evening the playing field between rural America and urban America. “Could you imagine,” she posted, “if we had this kind of democracy-altering “fairness” provision for literally any other group? If we weighed, for example, Black and Indigenous voters more because of unfairness?”

Studies show that the electoral college values white votes above all others.

Credit: @ocasio2018 / Instagram

Then, Ocasio posed several tough questions, sure to be evaded, of the GOP to Twitter: “We do not give electoral affirmative action to any other group in America. Do Black Americans have their votes count more bc they have been disenfranchised for 100s of years? Do Reservations get an electoral vote? Does Puerto Rico and US territories get them? No. They don’t.” That’s because the Electoral College isn’t about accurate representation.

Effectively, the Electoral College adjusts the fairness of the popular vote and automatically leans it more white.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

The GOP is all about ensuring states maintain autonomy and power without “big government” influence as much as possible. The reality is that the Electoral College goes far beyond ensuring small states are given fair representation in national elections. That’s because every state is automatically given three electoral votes, no matter how many people live there. Those small states are whiter, on average than larger states, making nonwhite voters underrepresented in the Electoral College.

Latinos are the most underrepresented group in the Electoral College, and effectively, in the presidency of the United States.

Credit: The Nation

According to a study done by sociologist Sean Darling-Hammond, rural votes are disproportionately valued higher than any other group. Meanwhile, Latinos are the most underrepresented group in her study. Of course, her study doesn’t include indigenous folks.

We may not even need to abolish the electoral college, thanks to The National Popular Vote compacts.

Credit: @_cingraham / Twitter

Fourteen states have already signed bills into law that would automatically defer its electors to whichever candidate wins the popular vote. According to the Brennan Center, there are enough states considering adopting this pact that would effectively render the electoral college meaningless.

READ: Here’s What Is So Disturbing About Seeing Conservative White Men Pretending To Assault And Choke AOC’s Cutout Picture

It Turns Out The Great Woman Behind Julian Castro Is His Mother, A Woman Who Has Long Carried The Fight For Latinos

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It Turns Out The Great Woman Behind Julian Castro Is His Mother, A Woman Who Has Long Carried The Fight For Latinos

When discussing today’s volatile state of our country, the racism, the violence, the injustice, people often say “it’s never been this bad.”

How do we truly know for sure that something we are experiencing today, as a minority, as Latinos, is something, unlike anything previous generations have experienced before. We certainly cannot tell from history books mainly because history books often omit the Latino experience altogether. We sometimes only have oral histories to rely on. The stories elder Latinos share with us about what life was like in the past, before social media, before cell phones, and before the media ever reported about injustices against our community. 

Those special individuals are typically our grandparents, tias, la vecina, and more importantly activists that continue to fight for the cause today. Recently presidential candidate, Julian Castro said that he stands on his important platforms today primarily because of his mother Rosie. 

As a lifelong Texan, Rosie said the racism in 2019 is more evil than anything she has ever seen.

Credit: Instagram/@TexasMonthly

In an interview with NBC News, Rosie who’s not only grown up in Texas but has also worked her adult life as an activist for Latinos said that she knows racism well because she has lived through it her entire life but what is happening today is extremely different from the past. 

“When I was in the movement, I knew the racism was out there and it was institutional. This kind of racism is different,” she said to the network. “That rhetoric has gone on for three years now, and I think we’ve all seen the rise of the hate groups and then even the rise of just ordinary people in a store that feel empowered to say something to a person who is speaking Spanish or is dark-skinned.”

Rosie said the racist words from President Donald Trump has single-handly inspired white supremacists to target Latinos. 

Credit: Twitter/@thehill

She said he is the catalyst to our current crisis.

Rosie said that when Trump first got elected she immediately felt like she was back in time, as if it were the ’60s all over again, but adds that this time it feels much worse. She said back then, President Nixon and California Governor Ronald Reagan had a campaign against Latinos too. However, it does not compare to the injustices against Latinos today. She points out that Trump claims to be a Christian yet can spew such vile words. “He’s just allowed that to become a blatant racist part of our reality,” Rosie said. 

As a former community organizer in the ’60s and ’70s, Rosie said Latinos had a mission to work at making the country a better place.

Credit: Instagram/@TexasMonthly

Now, Rosie said that Latinos are fighting for their lives. She also attributes a huge difference between then now on gun violence. Children today are afraid to go to school because mass shootings happen so frequently. 

Her son has always had a strong position against guns. He has spoken about it extensively during his presidential campaigning. Julian has said he will push for renewing the assault weapons ban, as well as limiting high-capacity magazines and, naturally, requiring background checks.

One thing that is inspiring Rosie — aside from her son running for president — is that so many organizations today are rising up to fight for equality and against racism.

Credit: Instagram/@denisemhdz

Rosie said the organizations she sees today does remind her of her time as an activist back in the day. While the injustices and crimes against Latinos is a stark difference, one thing that feels familiar is the energy from young Latinos rising together. 

Rosie has long been credited for influencing her sons’ work as public servants, to fight for Latinos and all people in the U.S. 

Credit: Instagram/@truth_purpose

Both Julian and Joaquin had attributed their rise in politics to their mother. It was her work as an activist and in education that made them both want to strive to make the United States a better place to live. 

In 2012, Julian gave his now-famous keynote address at the Democratic National Convention where he introduced then-President Barack Obama. In a few words, Julian not only paid tribute to the women in his life but also the American Dream that they worked so hard for. 

“My grandmother never owned a house,” Julian said back then. “She cleaned other people’s houses so she could afford to rent her own. But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.”

It is because of women like Rosie that we have a platform to stand on as well. 

READ: Julián Castro Walked Onstage To Selena, Struggles With Spanish, And Other Ways He Lives The Latino Experience On The Campaign Trail

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