Long Invisible, Domestic Workers in CA Are Stepping Out of the Shadows

Aug. 13, 2012 / By

New America Media, Video, Cliff Parker, Jacob Simas // Op-ed: Robert Rooks, NAACP

Fifteen years ago, my graduate school instructor posed a series of questions that still guide me to this day:

If you found yourself in a time warp and living in the Jim Crow era south, would you say and do nothing, as many people did? Or, would you organize and fight against Jim Crow laws and policies? What side of history would you be on, he asked. The side of the liberators? Or would you just watch silently?

These questions continue to fuel my commitment to speak and act out on behalf of any groups who are affected by unequal laws and policies – such as domestic workers. All across California and the U.S., domestic workers toil in deplorable conditions. Not only do they work for less than minimum wage with no breaks, they are also subject to mistreatment and exploitation.

Even worse, unlike other sectors, domestic workers don’t have any protections, excluded from enjoying the rights and protections enjoyed by other workers.

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New America Media is the country's first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 3,000 ethnic news organizations. Over 57 million ethnic adults connect to each other, to home countries and to America through 3000+ ethnic media outlets, the fastest growing sector of American journalism. Founded by the nonprofit Pacific News Service in 1996, NAM is headquartered in California with offices in New York and Washington D.C., and partnerships with journalism schools to grow local associations of ethnic media.