‘Roma’ inspires domestic workers in the U.S.

There are more than 2 million domestic workers living in the U.S., many of which are illegal immigrants

‘Roma’ inspires domestic workers in the U.S. to seek legal protection
The National Domestic Workers Alliance is now pushing for a law to protect domestic workers from poor working practices - Photo: Taken from 'Roma's' official Facebook page
English 23/02/2019 15:41 AFP Mexico City Actualizada 15:41
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The first time Ingrid Vaca watched Roma, she was alone in her house in Virginia on New Year’s Eve. Once she saw the story of Cleo, the domestic worker of a Mexican family in the 1970s, she was moved to tears; Cleo’s story was her own.

“I liked it because it shows the love that we give every day. Love is our job,” she said shortly after watching the picture once again in a special screening organized by the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and Participant Media, the film’s co-production company.

Her voice faltered as she recalled the many sons and daughters she took care of in her 18 years as a domestic worker in the United States. “When I saw the beach scene, I felt that the children were with me. That is just the way they hugged me, they would never leave my side,” she told.

Ingrid arrived in the United States as a single mother and an illegal immigrant. She left her home in Bolivia to provide a better future for her children, who were 5 and 7 at the moment. Now, she is proud to have fulfilled her dream. “Thanks to this dignified work, now I have a house of my own and my children are studying and working. They are very good kids and they contribute to society,” she said.

Ingrid is one of around 2 million domestic workers living in the United States today. More than 90% of them are black, Hispanic, or Asian, according to the NDWA, the sector’s main organization.

A study conducted in 2012 showed that nearly 25% of domestic workers in the U.S. were living in poverty; only 12% had been provided with health insurance from their employers, and barely 7% had a pension plan.

Some lived at the house they worked in and others didn’t. Half of them were employed part-time. Many were immigrants, specially from Latin America, though this social group also received the lowest pay.

“Domestic workers are one of the labor forces that have shown the most rapid growth in the U.S. However, nannies, house cleaners, and home-based care providers have been historically excluded from labor protection,” stated a report by the NDWA.

The Domestic Workers Alliance is now pushing for a law to protect domestic workers from poor working practices.

“The daily life and hardships of domestic workers is invisible to most people,” claimed Lydia Nakiberu, an immigrant from Uganda who has been providing care for senior citizens in Massachussets for eight years “as if they were my own parents.”

Lydia believes that Roma has made their reality visible, and trusts that Alfonso Cuarón’s film will win the minds and hearts of politicians and lawmakers.


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