Tennessee Pastors, Parents Issue Plea for Build Back Better

Advocate Andy

Advocates in Volunteer State Highlight Healthcare, Childcare Benefits of Biden Plan

A group of Tennessee parents and pastors held a media event today to draw attention to President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan and to urge Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty to support the measure.

Rev. Dr. Kevin Riggs, Pastor of Franklin Community Church said:

“Right now we can see that the current lack of childcare access and affordability across the state is unsustainable, not only for families, but for our economy. We are not valuing children, families and mothers the way we should. And the family focused policy and this bill would move us closer to our values and ideals as Tennesseans. By investing in all children across this state and the nation, we would be moving us closer to that reality.”

Kat Fittin, a Stay at Home mom and Small Business Owner, shared her story of signing up on multiple wait lists for childcare when she was only 14 weeks pregnant, yet not getting reliable care for her daughter until she was 7 months old. She also recounted her realization that her employer expected her to take her laptop to the hospital when she gave birth because they didn’t provide any maternity leave.

“However, I know I’m not alone. Currently in the United States, one in four employed women returned to work within two weeks of giving birth. This is abysmal data and indictment of our lack of family values in this country. 95% of women in low income jobs do not have paid maternity leave at all as part of their job. How can we expect to make life better for their children when we continue to put obstacles in front of us at every turn?”

Rev Ella Clay, Pastor of Historic Community Church of Nashville declared that:

“As a pastor and Christian leader, I believe no matter the color of a person’s skin or where they live in the state, all Tennesseans deserve a quality education and the ability to provide for their families. And that together we have to prioritize those who are economically disadvantaged in order to create equity for all, which is why I support the Build Back Better Plan. The policies put forth in the Build Back Better Plan declare that every one of us is created in the image of God and has immeasurable worth, and therefore is worth Investing in.

Alyssa Dituro, Executive Director of the McNeilly Center for Children in Nashville said:

“The media talks about our labor shortages. Yet we’re not talking about the childcare shortages that are preventing our families, mostly women and women of color, from getting back into the workforce. And if we don’t deal with the root causes of this economy, we’ll continue to struggle as a society, our families will suffer when they do not have ‘village programs’ like ours.”

The Build Back Better plan is currently awaiting a Senate vote as it has passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The pastors and parents at the Nashville event noted that Tennessee’s Senators have an opportunity to advance the bill in order to address key issues in healthcare, education, and childcare.

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN
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