During the second night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention , Senator Elizabeth Warren addressed the nation in a 5-minute slot at the all-virtual, socially distanced Democratic National Convention. In the speech, Warren spoke about former Vice President and current Presidential Candidate Joe Biden’s plans to restore unions and worker’s rights, as well as the massive economic, social, and educational fallout that has occurred since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in earnest in the United States in March. Standing in a child care center that has been closed since March, Warren spoke to the reality that many parents are living in right now: “Parents are stuck, no idea when schools will reopen and… even fewer childcare options. The devastation is enormous… We can build a thriving economy by investing in families, and fixing what’s broken,” she said to American audiences across the country.
Much of Warren’s five minutes were spent on a problem that many parents are keenly aware of. The lack of affordable, accessible, and truly universal child care in this country is a problem that Warren spent a lot of time on as she campaigned for her own presidential run — and she was one of the first candidates to release a truly ambitious child care plan that would make child care free for many families and affordable for the rest of them. Biden’s plan, which was released a few weeks ago, is very similar to Warren’s, and Warren spoke about that plan at length, appealing to working parents across the country.
She told her oft-discussed story of her Aunt Bea — who came down from Oklahoma to Texas to help Warren care for her infant children as she taught and juggled going to school at the same time. “I had tried to hold it all together, but without reliable child care, working was nearly impossible,” she said, in a truth that likely rings true to all parents. But her Aunt Bea helped her out for 16 years, raising her children and ensuring that Warren could work while being a parent. “I get to be here tonight, because of my Aunt Bea. I learned a fundamental truth: nobody makes it alone. And yet, here we are, two generations of working parents later, and if you have a baby, and don’t have an Aunt Bea, you’re on your own,” she said.
“We build infrastructure like roads, bridges, and communication systems so that people can work. That keeps our economy going. It’s time to recognize that child care is part of the basic infrastructure of this nation. It’s infrastructure for families,” she says. After all, since child care centers across the country shut their doors en masse in March for obvious reasons, all talk of ‘reopening the economy’ is worthless without providing parents with meaningful child care that is affordable and accessible. And right now, with hundreds and hundreds of child care centers across the country unable to reopen after just three weeks of being closed because of high costs of operation and razor-thin profit margins, parents, who have been forced to work while finding care for their children or caring for them on their own, can relate to the sentiment.