FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 5, 2023
Contact: Daniela Perez, [email protected]
Care in Action, the advocacy home for more than 2 million domestic and care workers—who played a vital role in the 2020 elections—is mobilizing again in 2024, representing a diverse coalition of Black, Brown, Indigenous, AAPI, and immigrant women.
COLUMBIA, SC— As South Carolina held its primary election on February 3, Care in Action, the advocacy home for more than 2 million domestic and care workers across America, emphasizes the crucial role of this early primary in shaping the 2024 election landscape. With an open primary system, the state presented a unique opportunity to show that voters across the political spectrum support a robust care agenda. This agenda is vital for addressing the needs of the most vulnerable and undervalued among us, primarily women of color, who are significantly represented in the care workforce.
In 2020, Care in Action’s first year in South Carolina, we elected 13 of 16 endorsed women of color candidates, with nearly 2 million voter contact attempts. As we move through the 2024 election cycle, Care in Action South Carolina remains dedicated to advocating for the care agenda, aiming to secure new investments and policy changes that support child care, family and medical leave, and home-based services. Our work is fundamental to ensuring a stronger future for domestic workers, their families, and all Americans who depend on their invaluable services.
“The South Carolina primary is not just about choosing presidential candidates; it’s about elevating the conversation on the future of care in America. Our efforts to mobilize voters and advocate for domestic workers, caregivers, and their families are more critical than ever – especially when most domestic workers are women of color,” Maria Reyes, South Carolina State Director for Care in Action, said. “As we continue to engage in this election season, Care in Action is committed to ensuring that the voices of the care community are heard loud and clear. We stand ready to champion the policies that will build a fair and just care infrastructure for all.”
South Carolina voters were the first to cast their ballots in the nation following a 2022 rule change to move the state ahead of the traditional early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire – signaling the critical importance of Black voters in the country’s election. Care in Action South Carolina is engaging in meaningful conversations with Black women voters, especially domestic workers, and caregivers – who see themselves as the most impacted by a future without a robust care infrastructure.
DeBorah Bush, a Care in Action volunteer from Columbia, says, “Care workers work incredibly long hours and give a lot of themselves to their patients; however, our work is not acknowledged, and we do not get paid properly. That needs to change, and we, domestic workers, are the future voters who can make that change a reality.”
2023 was a challenging year for caregivers across the country. An AARP report highlighted that family caregivers provided $600 billion in unpaid care, a testament to many’s financial and personal sacrifices. The care industry is at a crossroads, facing historic turnover rates that threaten the sustainability of a cared-for and robust workforce.
Moreover, the financial strain on American families is exacerbated by the rising costs of child care, a concern that has only grown in the wake of the pandemic. A recent Care.com survey revealed that most US adults who pay for professional childcare anticipate an increase of $7,000 in annual expenses, mainly attributed to the expiration of pandemic-era safety nets and ongoing staffing shortages. Last year, the Children’s Trust of South Carolina reported that South Carolina’s childcare workers rank 46th in the nation in terms of pay – further, over 220,000 childcare providers are at risk of closure since the child funding care cliff in September of last year.
The financial burden on families needing care services in South Carolina and the country continues to grow, highlighting the urgent need for a comprehensive care agenda that supports caregivers and those who rely on their services.
The South Carolina primary is pivotal for national discussions on care, health care, and economic stability. Care in Action has mobilized voters, particularly Black women in South Carolina, advocating for a more robust care infrastructure, including investments in child care, paid family and medical leave, and expanded home- and community-based services. Care in Action’s work is fundamental to ensuring a stronger future for domestic workers, their families, and all Americans who depend on their invaluable services.
Care in Action is the policy and advocacy home for women who care, working on behalf of more than two million domestic workers and care workers across America. Among the fastest-growing sectors in our economy, domestic workers are also among the most vulnerable and undervalued. As a mostly women and majority women of color workforce, this growing constituency consistently and overwhelmingly supports progressive values in American political life. Learn more at www.careinaction.us.