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Standing Up For Democracy: How Activists Are Fighting Injustice in America Today

Bill Moyers talks with activists about an initiative to open Americans' eyes about income inequality.

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BILL MOYERS: Your two organizations have come together in this Caring Across Generations. What very specific goals do you have? What specific things would you like to see change.

SARITA GUPTA: So the way that we approach the campaign, we actually talk about it as the five fingers of the caring hand. So one of them is, in fact, creating jobs, creating two million jobs in the home care industry. Two is making sure these jobs are good quality jobs. That they have real standards.

The third is that there be training and a real career pathway in this industry. Home care, by the way, is the second-largest growth occupation, you know, between now and 2018, according to the most recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is huge. And so our ability to shape the quality of these jobs is enormous. It's important to be doing. The fourth finger is really addressing the issues of how do we create a pathway to citizenship for the existing care workforce and then the fifth finger is really about affordability.

AI-JEN POO: So we're talking about offering tax credits for people who are paying for care and are really struggling to afford it. We're talking about family caregiver supports. And we're talking about increasing funding for programs that offer long-term care and support services in the home.

Right now, there's a bias in our laws towards institutionalized care. But there's a lot of data that shows that it's actually much more affordable, all told, to have people stay at home and receive care in their home. People, I think, want to live independently for as long as possible.

BILL MOYERS: What's the main wall between you and achieving what you would like to achieve with these women?

SARITA GUPTA: At the end of the day, the number one obstacle we find is people ask, "Well, how will all this get paid for? How is this possible?" And frankly, for us, we're very clear it's about the choices that we're making around our spending priorities.

But it is possible. I really believe it's possible. But that feels like the number one obstacle that we as the American people and our policymakers need to get over. That the cost of care is possible. You know? We can actually afford this.

BILL MOYERS: You two have brought new faces and new techniques-- new values to organizing. How do you see your work changing in the 21st Century? Sarita?

SARITA GUPTA: I think we're understanding more and more that we need to collaborate with each other, immigrant rights, housing rights, environmental rights, labor rights. Like, we need to actually be approaching our work together, to find the kinds of long-term, systemic solutions that we need.

But within the workers' rights movement, as well, I would say there's been huge shifts happening. I mean, with the growth of the informal sector and economy of workers that are unprotected there is a need for us to actually understand new forms of organizing amongst workers who don't fall under the protection of the National Labor Relations Act. And unions and the struggles they're facing, and begin to imagine new ways to be organizing workers at the numbers that we need, at the scales that we need to really make change.

AI-JEN POO: The world of organizing is reflecting the changing demographics of this country where communities of color are growing. Women, I believe, are 51 percent of the population. So you're seeing more and more leadership from women, from communities of color. And, you know, we're looking forward to running a domestic worker for president. So I think, you know, increasingly you're going to see that the world of organizing and the world of politics is going to be increasingly reflective of the changing demographics of this country in a very positive way.

 
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