Domestic Workers Oral History Project
Organized by: Deborah Axner
“Caring has to come from your heart, and a lot of times - some of the nannies that I know, they're like: 'These people don't care about me. I'm just there. They're not concerned whether something is wrong with me or not, I'm just there.'" – A. Harding, nanny
The New England Jewish Labor Committee and Matahari Women Workers’ Center need your help!
We are asking friends, colleagues, family, and community members to donate to an oral history project called, Domestic Workers and Employers: Exploring the Realities of Work, Family, Care, and Communities. The personal stories of domestic workers and employers that have been told through this project bring to light an important piece of our collective U.S. history. We have already interviewed twenty-two people and we would like to do more interviews as many voices are missing. We are aiming to continue these conversations as part of a larger effort to bring about a more caring future and find solutions to the inequities that domestic workers face. Your donation would help us not only give more people the chance to share their stories, but also help us create advocacy events and design a new website to educate domestic workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. This project will help our community learn about the changing relationships between domestic workers and their employers in light of the new Massachusetts Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and beyond.
There is a long history of discrimination against domestic workers. From the maltreatment of African American women working as slaves in white families’ homes to the exclusion of domestic workers in the 1938 New Deal legislation due to racial and gender-based discrimination, to the current struggle for au pairs to have access to minimum wage and fair labor conditions, domestic workers have not been treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. For American families especially, we are in the middle of a child care crisis where the average cost of child care is approximately $18,000 per year. For residents in 33 states and Washington, D.C., child care costs more than in-state college tuition. Along with an unprecedented elder boom by 2050, the number of us who will require some form of long-term care and support will double to 27 million in the US. Therefore, the need for a path towards a solution for quality and affordable care for our families is ever pressing.
This is why we need to elevate the conversation about care in our lives starting from the perspectives of domestic workers and employers. Listening to their stories can help us think about how we show care in our own relationships, and how we can begin to treat our coworkers, family, friends, and employees with more respect.
Last spring, the New England Jewish Labor Committee and Matahari wrote a grant proposal to Mass Humanities and it was accepted. We were awarded $10,000, but we need another match $10,000 to complete the project. This is why we are asking for you to help us. For more information on the project, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Marya Axner (NEJLC):
NewEnglandJLC@jewishlabor.org Monique Nguyen (Matahari): email@example.com