This year, our organization is celebrating its 15th year of advancing justice for workers caring for themselves and their loved ones. While we are taking the opportunity to reflect on the impact our work has had, it’s vividly clear there is much to be done in the fight for women and working families.
2020 has exacerbated the serious care crisis happening right in our backyards in communities across the country, amplifying the many inequalities that still exist for low wage workers—especially women and people of color—due to the lack of fair and supportive infrastructure around work and care. A record number of women have been left with no choice but to leave the workforce with many barely able to stay afloat economically while caring for themselves and their loved ones.
However, we have moved the needle forward on many fronts. For example, thanks to our legislative advocacy in 2020, we ensured that nearly 3 million Coloradans now have access to paid family and medical leave and paid sick time, and that approximately 7 million New Yorkers are entitled to paid sick leave. Additionally, we pushed the Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act through the state legislature unanimously, meaning that 30 states now guarantee reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers—and we are closer than ever to passing a federal bill. And last year alone, we were able to provide direct support via our legal helpline to nearly 4,000 workers, as our call volume tripled due to the pandemic.
Though great strides have been made, the fight to secure justice for all workers and their loved ones is far from over. We’ve seen how far proactive advocacy and awareness building has brought us, as our work has served as a blueprint for policymakers and a lifeline for countless families from coast to coast. As we celebrate our successes we also want to call attention to the ongoing crises facing working families in America, and the changemakers and organizations working towards justice.
This year, our Spring Celebration will take place virtually. On May 11, we will be hosting an inspirational evening celebrating progress with candid discussions focused on ensuring we keep pushing forward towards a future where all workers can care for themselves and their loved ones without jeopardizing their economic security. This will include panel discussions about the challenges faced by workers today and the importance of providing advocacy and support through resources such as our free legal helpline.. Simultaneously, we will take a moment to reflect on our legislative wins and how we can keep up that momentum moving forward.
We are excited to have Samantha Bee, Host of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS and active partner of A Better Balance, as our special guest. We will be honoring some trailblazers who have dedicated themselves to moving the needle forward with a series of awards, including Chai Feldblum, former Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and long-time civil rights leader, Ana Oliveira, President and CEO of The New York Women’s Foundation, who has played a key role in initiatives for equity and justice, Alysia Montaño, Olympic runner, three-time U.S. National Champion, and Co-Founder of &Mother who has used her platform to advocate for positive change for mothers everywhere, and Natasha Jackson, a Community Advocate with A Better Balance who experienced pregnancy discrimination firsthand and has continually been a powerful voice for change in the fight to secure safety accommodations for pregnant workers.
Additionally, the event will feature remarks from several elected officials who are working tirelessly to ensure equality, dignity and fairness for workers, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Colorado State Senator Faith Winter.
While we cannot gather in-person, we are tremendously fortunate to have the opportunity to use a virtual platform to tackle critical issues affecting workers’ rights.