February 7, 2023
VIDEO: Pressley, Colleagues, SOTU Guest Press for Child Care and Paid Leave Investments Ahead of State of the Union
Pressley Bringing Jaqueline Sanches, an Early Educator from Mattapan, as Her Guest to the State of the Union Address
WASHINGTON – Ahead of the State of the Union (SOTU) address, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Jaqueline Sanches, her guest to the President’s SOTU address, joined U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (MA-05), colleagues and advocates at a press conference to discuss the need to invest in educators, families, and children.
Rep. Pressley announced Jaqueline, a Mattapan resident, early educator, and immigrant mother of two, as her SOTU guest yesterday. For more information on Jaqueline and why Rep. Pressley has invited her as her guest, click here.
Transcript: Pressley, SOTU Guest Press for Child Care and Paid Leave Investments Ahead of State of the Union
February 7, 2023
Good afternoon. It is great to be able to stand here shoulder to shoulder alongside my colleagues, educators, advocates.
You know, unfortunately it took a global pandemic for many to get the memo that early educators are essential.
And so today we come together, shoulder to shoulder, to affirm that this is as much about our GDP as it is our families.
That we come together to affirm that we value the labor of our educators, and we value their lives too.
Our babies matter. Our mamas matter.
When COVID-19 hit our nation, it really did underscore the critical role that educators play.
Our nation saw the dual workload of parents doing their best to make ends meet, to keep their kids safe, and negotiate care in a broken system.
The nation saw.
We cannot, we should not un-see what was revealed.
The care economy is essential work often rendered invisible. It is necessary, critical, dignified, and must be valued.
I know we’re all here because we believe that another world is possible. A more just nation is possible.
A nation where our early educators are paid their due and treated as the skilled, dedicated professionals that they are.
A nation where paid family leave is not a nice-to-have, instead it is a basic right codified in federal policy.
True enough, our early educators are deserving of accolades and applause. But they are deserving of much more than that.
They are deserving of policies. Policies that see them, that center them, and that support them and this dedicated workforce.
Not only in their labor, but most of all, in their own lives.
Another world is possible.
A nation where our children are deeply loved and valued.
A nation where we affirm that education is a public good and a fundamental right at the age of two and the age of ten.
A nation where in the dawn and in the twilight of our lives, we can get the necessary medical care in home and community-based settings.
We are a nation rich with creativity, with possibility and potential.
We needn’t give in to cynicism or unjust, false choices.
We can invest in our people and show the world that we care about our neighbors.
I am so honored to join the call for a more just nation that takes care of its people.
And I am so honored to be here with my guest for the State of the Union, Jaqueline Sanches, a dedicated educator who works at a Head Start program in the Massachusetts 7th.
Jaqueline is a proud immigrant from Cape Verde. She is a classroom teacher. She is the proud mom of a four-year-old and a five-month-old.
Jaqueline and her colleagues should be front and center as we discuss how to rebuild and build better, as we challenge ourselves to live up to our aspirations as a nation.
I know that President Biden shares our deep commitment to our educators and parents across this country.
And together, we are going to build a more just nation. An America that works for everyone, that leave no worker, no family and no community behind.
Today is an important day and Jaqueline, I hope when you look down from the gallery tonight, you know that amongst that crowd, there are members of Congress from every walk of life that are inspired by you, grateful for you, and most importantly, working for you.
And most of all, I hope you know, that today you are making your babies, Emily and Jayden, so very proud.
Hi everyone. My name is Jaqueline.
I have been an Early Head Start teacher at Dimock Center Early Head Start and Head Start program for nine years.
Our program provides childcare education and family support service in the community.
As early educators, we are children’s first introduction to teaching and work with young children during their most important brain-building years.
Also I’m a mom of two, a girl and a boy.
When my daughter was born four years ago, I had to go back to work for months and leave her behind.
I needed someone to take care of her so I could work.
When my daughter was able to get childcare when she was six months old, I had to work as a part-time, because I couldn’t afford to pay full-time care for her.
I applied for a voucher and had to wait six months on the waiting list to get it.
I had to pay the parent fee every week.
Now that my son is five months old in Early Head Start, I’m working part-time again because I couldn’t get the full childcare for him. There was no staff.
Now my daughter is in Boston Public Schools and I see what a great job her teacher is doing to prepare her for elementary school, but what she does is what we do, too as Early Head Start teachers.
As Early Head Start teachers, we are often seen as babysitters, but not as professional educators.
We have been doing [the same] amazing job as the Boston Public School teachers, but we don’t recognized or paid as well.
Early Head Start and Head Start teachers make a significant impact on young children’s lives, who will be taking care of us in the future.
They will become a police officer, a teacher, a nurse, a lawyer, a soldiers, and our President one day.
So this is why all the young children deserve the education we provide, and why it’s so important that early educators are well-compensated for this work.
And I am very grateful for Congresswoman Pressley’s support for better pay of childcare and Head Start teachers, and more affordable care for the parents.
And I am very honored to be here and share my story.