Black and Latina Caretakers Are Overworked, Underpaid, and Pushed to the Margins. This New Film Brings them Center Stage.
Photo courtesy of Through the Night

Celebrating mothers and caretakers doesn’t have to stop when Mother’s Day ends this year. Tonight, tune in to PBS or stream online for a national watch party of Through the Night at 10 pm ET.

The documentary premiered at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and is directed by Loira Limbal, an Afro-Latina working mother. Created by an all-women-of-color crew, Through the Night tells the story “of three working mothers whose lives all intersect at a 24-hour daycare center: a mother working the overnight shift as an essential worker at a hospital; another holding down three jobs just to support her family; and a woman who for over two decades has cared for the children of parents with nowhere else to turn.” This film encompasses the multiple facets of “women’s work” whether it be paid, unpaid, or underpaid; emotional or physical labor; and in or out of the home.

“Child care is necessary for parents—particularly mothers—to work and earn an income, yet it has become an increasingly crushing expense…Over the past two decades, the cost of child care has more than doubled, while wages have remained mostly stagnant” writes the Center for American Progress in a 2019 report. The disparities are especially prevalent for Black mothers, who “are more likely to be in the labor force than mothers of any other race.”

“The film is a love letter to single mothers and caregivers. It elevates the voices and stories of women of color who are often invisibilized or pushed into the margins of our society.”

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– Director Loira Limbal

Moreover, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that parents are currently spending approximately $42 billion on early child care and education, which is far more than the federal government currently spends. In addition to the gross expense of childcare, for those working more than one job and/or with irregular hours, it can be challenging to even find care.

When care is found, it is unaffordable for most. Childcare providers are also suffering from financial hardship, and they are barely making enough to scrape by themselves. EPI reported that “the vast majority (91.5%) of domestic workers are women and just over half (52.4%) are black, Hispanic, or Asian American/Pacific Islander women…[and] on average are paid just 74 cents for every dollar that their peers make.”

According to director Loira Limbal, “The film is a love letter to single mothers and caregivers. It elevates the voices and stories of women of color who are often invisibilized or pushed into the margins of our society.”

Click here for your local listings for Monday’s broadcast.

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