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I had the pleasure today of attending  the hearing at the state house in Boston in support of  “An Act to Establish Paid Sick Days”.

Myself and about 20 other Moms Rising members and kids packed the room with supporters of the bill. Our kid’s fell asleep in the aisles listening to all the suits talk, they snacked away through lovely speeches in support of the bill from Rep Kay Khan and Ellen Story, and even made a couple security guards snicker!

My 3 year old daughter Sora accompanied me to the stand, to testify on behalf of MomsRising, our local chapter here in the Pioneer Valley- the political arm of MotherWoman Inc and myself.
I spoke to the fact that parents most affected by lack of paid sick days are mothers, single parents and low-income workers. Paid sick days should be a right for all workers, not just a privilege for the upper class.  The fact that people lose their jobs due to illness is a reality not just rhetoric. As I became a mother myself I struggled with the failings of our system effecting my ability to mother and care for my child. When my daughter was about a year old, I went back to work / school. After 6 months of working for the same employer, my daughter came down with a virus. I was forced to call in to my job, I took 2 days off unpaid. On the 3rd day of my child’s, she seemed to be holding fluids and the fever was slowly going down. As I went to walk out the door to leave for work, my child vomited all over me. I called my employer and he fired me on the spot.

All to often mothers are blamed for larger systemic failings that impact their ability to care properly for their children, its time we start to take family initiatives seriously and create policies that enable parents to care and heal their children with dignity. Lack of paid sick days directly affects a person’s ability to care for their child. Part of building our community and supporting families means creating policies that make it possible for ALL parents to care for their children and families in the best way possible, not just the status quo. No parent should have to choose between their children and their job!

PS. I would also like to thank all the mamas who braved the wind/rain to make it to the hearing, we really appreciate your support and enthusiasm and can’t wait to see you next time!

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