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Meghan Markle is speaking out in a letter to Congress advocating for paid parental leave.
On Wednesday, the Duchess of Sussex wrote an open letter to Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer. Published on Paid Leave for All, the message addressed the everyday struggles parents face when welcoming a new member into their family and how they often must choose between being a part of their child’s first few critical months or going back to work.
“I’m not an elected official, and I’m not a politician. I am, like many, an engaged citizen and a parent. And because you and your congressional colleagues have a role in shaping family outcomes for generations to come, that’s why I’m writing to you at this deeply important time—as a mom—to advocate for paid leave,” Markle began the letter. “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.”
The 40-year-old entrepreneur also opened up about her childhood and what she remembers about her parents’ work ethic and the sacrifices they made for her and her siblings.
She continued, “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. 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.”
Markle even touched upon becomming a mother for a second time this summer. “In June, my husband and I welcomed our second child,” Markle wrote. “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),” she continued before concluding, “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.” She simply signed the note, “Meg, Duchess of Sussex.”
Now that’s powerful.
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