Courtni Sunjoo Pugh is special assistant to the executive director for SEIU Local 99. She was formerly the national redistricting project director of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the largest unions in both California and the nation. She is the first Asian Pacific Islander American and woman to hold this position in California. A political strategist and community organizer, Ms. Pugh began her career as a field organizer in Oakland, California. She later held senior posts in such campaigns as John Edwards for President, Kerry-Edwards 2004, and Gore-Lieberman 2000. Ms. Pugh has also brought her leadership skills to the Democratic National Committee, the Alliance for a Better California, and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO). She serves as president of the board of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium Fund and is a founding member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association in Washington, D.C. Ms. Pugh holds a B.A. in political science from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
Several of the state’s largest newspapers have spoken, and their verdict is in: the hard-working women who care for California’s kids are no more than “babysitters.” At least that’s what a spate of editorials have claimed in recent days as they dismiss the idea that child care providers do difficult, important work. These editorial writers have actually sat and listened to women explain how their day starts at 5:30 in the morning and lasts until 10:00 at night and heard them describe the thought, care, and hard work that goes into caring for and laying good educational and social foundations for up to 14 children a day.
They listened — and promptly dismissed the fact that they play a crucial role in our economy, making hundreds of thousands of jobs possible by giving parents the ability to be at work. As infuriating as it can be to witness such disrespect, I’ve never been surprised when those in positions of power display their contempt for working people, especially working women of color.