VP candidate supports Home Care Aides

Chance meeting a year ago continues to inspire

Shazia Anwar, right, and fellow SEIU executive board member Monique Taylor-Swan, left, meet Kamala Harris, September 2019, in Seattle when Harris was a Democratic presidential primary.

Shazia Anwar didn’t realize it at the time, but almost a year ago she met the future Democratic nominee for vice president.

Last September California Sen. Kamala Harris visited Seattle when she was a presidential primary candidate. A couple of fundraisers and a panel discussion on gun safety was on her agenda.

There was also a quick gathering outside Swedish Hospital and members of SEIU 775 were invited to meet the candidate.

Shazia, a Full Life Home Care Aide, is also an SEIU executive board member. The union represents more than 45,000 long-term care workers in Washington and Montana.

“It was so exciting to meet her. She talked to me and said, ‘You can count on me,’” Shazia remembers. “She said ‘I know how you are taking care of your clients.’”

Indeed, Sen. Harris is a fan of home care aides and knows of their hard work and dedication. Last year she and Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal introduced companion bills that would create a National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. She even Tweeted on Sept. 6, 2019: “Home care workers aren’t valued nearly enough. We need to change that. That’s why @RepJayapal and I introduced the first ever National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights to finally give these workers the dignity, rights, and respect they deserve.”

Sen. Harris’ devotion to these workers continues. In her first speech as the Joe Biden’s VP pick on Aug. 12 she said a Biden-Harris administration would “ . . . offer caregivers the dignity, the respect and the pay they deserve.”

And she echoed that recognition of the dedication of home care aides in her convention acceptance speech just a week later.

A crowd gathers for selfies with then presidential primary candidate Kamala Harris, September 2019 in Seattle.

 “We believe that our country — all of us, will stand together for a better future. We already are. We see it in the doctors, the nurses, the home health care workers and the front-line workers who are risking their lives to save people they’ve never met.”

“I think she will be a good candidate for the working class,” Shazia says.

The election is more than two months away and anything can happen. But we certainly hope that this relatively new, national recognition of the important work done by Home Care Aides continues.

(Photos courtesy of Shazia Anwar)