Why Meghan Markle penned an open letter to congress
ROYAL NEWS

Why Meghan Markle penned an open letter to Congress

The Duchess of Sussex wrote to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Meghan Markle advocated for paid family leave in an open letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “I’m not an elected official, and I’m not a politician. I am, like many, an engaged citizen and a parent,” the Duchess of Sussex began her letter, which was published Wednesday on the Paid Leave for All website. “And because you and your congressional colleagues have a role in shaping family outcomes for generations to come, that’s why I’m writing to you at this deeply important time—as a mom—to advocate for paid leave.”

Meghan Markle, who welcomed her second child in June, advocated for paid family leave in an open letter dated Oct. 20©WireImage
Meghan Markle, who welcomed her second child in June, advocated for paid family leave in an open letter dated Oct. 20

“Over the past 20 months, the pandemic has exposed long-existing fault lines in our communities. At an alarming rate, millions of women dropped out of the workforce, staying home with their kids as schools and daycares were closed, and looking after loved ones full-time. The working mom or parent is facing the conflict of being present or being paid. The sacrifice of either comes at a great cost,” the royal mom of two continued. “For many, this sacrifice goes back further than the past 20 months; it’s 20 or 30 years, even longer—decades of giving time, body, and endless energy not just in the pursuit of the American dream, but simply the dream of stability.”

Meghan went on to recall her own childhood revealing, “I grew up on the $4.99 salad bar at Sizzler—it may have cost less back then (to be honest, I can’t remember)—but what I do remember was the feeling: I knew how hard my parents worked to afford this because even at five bucks, eating out was something special, and I felt lucky. And as a Girl Scout, when my troop would go to dinner for a big celebration, it was back to that same salad bar or The Old Spaghetti Factory—because that’s what those families could afford to do too.”

The Duchess added, “I started working (at the local frozen yogurt shop) at the age of 13. I waited tables, babysat, and piecemealed jobs together to cover odds and ends. I worked all my life and saved when and where I could—but even that was a luxury—because usually it was about making ends meet and having enough to pay my rent and put gas in my car.”

Meghan acknowledged that after the birth of her daughter Lilibet Diana earlier this year, she and Harry “weren’t confronted with the harsh reality of either spending those first few critical months with” their baby or going back to work.

The Duchess of Sussex addressed her letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi©Getty Images
The Duchess of Sussex addressed her letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

“We knew we could take her home, and in that vital (and sacred) stage, devote any and everything to our kids and to our family. We knew that by doing so we wouldn’t have to make impossible choices about childcare, work, and medical care that so many have to make every single day,” she penned. “No family should be faced with these decisions. No family should have to choose between earning a living and having the freedom to take care of their child (or a loved one, or themselves, as we would see with a comprehensive paid leave plan).”

The Suits alum noted that paid leave should be a national right, and “isn’t about Right or Left.” Instead, “it’s about right or wrong.” “This is about putting families above politics. And for a refreshing change, it’s something we all seem to agree on. At a point when everything feels so divisive, let this be a shared goal that unites us,” Meghan concluded her letter. “So, on behalf of my family, Archie and Lili and Harry, I thank you for considering this letter, and on behalf of all families, I ask you to ensure this consequential moment is not lost.“

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex went on parental leave following the birth of their second child in June. People magazine reported at the time that Meghan and Harry planned on taking several months off “in keeping with the 20-week paid parental leave policy of their Archewell Foundation.”

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