bitchy | Duchess Meghan wrote an open letter in support of paid family leave


The Duchess of Sussex has gotten pretty choosey with how, where and when she makes public statements. Part of that is that she’s been busy having babies and raising her babies, and that’s her priority right now. Her point this week is that every parent should be able to have time to have babies and raise their babies. She wrote an open letter to Senator Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the need for universal paid family leave. The letter was published on the Paid Leave For All site, and you can read the full letter here. Some highlights:

Why this conversation is important in a pandemic: Over the past 20 months, the pandemic has exposed long-existing fault lines in our communities. At an alarming rate, millions of women dropped out of the workforce, staying home with their kids as schools and daycares were closed, and looking after loved ones full-time. The working mom or parent is facing the conflict of being present or being paid. The sacrifice of either comes at a great cost. For many, this sacrifice goes back further than the past 20 months; it’s 20 or 30 years, even longer—decades of giving time, body, and endless energy not just in the pursuit of the American dream, but simply the dream of stability.

The Sizzler salad bar: I grew up on the $4.99 salad bar at Sizzler—it may have cost less back then (to be honest, I can’t remember)—but what I do remember was the feeling: I knew how hard my parents worked to afford this because even at five bucks, eating out was something special, and I felt lucky. And as a Girl Scout, when my troop would go to dinner for a big celebration, it was back to that same salad bar or The Old Spaghetti Factory—because that’s what those families could afford to do too.

Taking parental leave: In June, my husband and I welcomed our second child. Like any parents, we were overjoyed. Like many parents, we were overwhelmed. Like fewer parents, we weren’t confronted with the harsh reality of either spending those first few critical months with our baby or going back to work. We knew we could take her home, and in that vital (and sacred) stage, devote any and everything to our kids and to our family. We knew that by doing so we wouldn’t have to make impossible choices about childcare, work, and medical care that so many have to make every single day. No family should be faced with these decisions. No family should have to choose between earning a living and having the freedom to take care of their child (or a loved one, or themselves, as we would see with a comprehensive paid leave plan).

You either pay for it upfront or you pay on the backend: In taking care of your child, you take care of your community, and you take care of your country—because when paid leave is a right, we’re creating a foundation that helps address mental health outcomes, health care costs, and economic strength at the starting line. Instead, as it stands now, we spend a fortune as a country paying into symptoms rather than causes.

America is so far behind on family leave: I’m writing to you on behalf of millions of American families who are using their voices to say that comprehensive paid leave should not be a place to compromise or negotiate. In fact, most nations already have paid leave policies in place. Estonia, for example, offers over a year and a half of leave to be shared by new parents. Many other countries have robust programs that give months of time for both parents (birth or adoptive) to be home with their child. The United States, in stark contrast, does not federally guarantee any person a single day of paid leave. And fewer than one in four workers has dedicated paid family leave through their employer. I’m sure you agree that if we are to continue to be exceptional, then we can’t be the exception.

This isn’t political: I know how politically charged things can—and have—become. But this isn’t about Right or Left, it’s about right or wrong. This is about putting families above politics. And for a refreshing change, it’s something we all seem to agree on. At a point when everything feels so divisive, let this be a shared goal that unites us. So, on behalf of my family, Archie and Lili and Harry, I thank you for considering this letter, and on behalf of all families, I ask you to ensure this consequential moment is not lost.

[From Paid Leave For All]

She signed the letter “As ever, Meghan” which is an amazing sign-off. If they make a bio-pic about her – a real one, directed by Chloe Zhao – it will be called As Ever, Meghan. Loved the shout-out to Sizzler’s salad bar, always a real one. Here in the South, we grew up on not only Sizzler’s salad bar, but the Country Kitchen salad bar. Anyway, it’s insane that America doesn’t have comprehensive family leave, maternity leave and paternity leave laws in place so here we are. A Sizzler-loving duchess is writing to the Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House. Both of whom are already advocates for paid family leave, as is President Biden. Schumer, Pelosi and Biden aren’t the issue here – the issue is turtleface Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Trump-thumpers.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry leave Melba's after grabbing lunch in Harlem

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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