The Stronger Califrnia Advocates Network is an innovative collaboration of 50+ nonprofit and advocacy organizations across the state that work together to break down barriers that keep women from achieving economic security. Founded and led by Equal Rights Advocates, and working in partnership with the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, the Network promotes legislation and policy reform to help California women and families.
In this Q&A series, we’ll hear from advocates at the organizations leading the state on these issues.
Ask an Advocate: Kimberly Alvarenga
Director, California Domestic Workers Coalition
Q: What brought you to this work, and why are you passionate about it?
KA: I approach my work with the California Domestic Workers Coalition as the daughter of an immigrant domestic worker in San Francisco, California. After more than twenty years growing the economic and political power of underrepresented communities through policy advocacy, I remain committed to the leadership of the strong immigrant women workers who are organizing for their dignity and leading the movement at the intersection of immigrant, women, and worker rights. They are the women workers who do the work inside the home that makes all other work outside of the home possible, and I am inspired by them every day.
The women workers who do the work inside the home that makes all other work outside of the home possible… I am inspired by them every day.
Q: What is your favorite bill this session and why?
KA: This session, following a multi-year grassroots campaign, domestic workers and employers of the California Domestic Workers Coalition have won the resources within the California State Budget to establish a groundbreaking outreach and education program to be administered by the California Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement. The aim of the program is to increase awareness of and compliance with existing labor protections within the domestic work industry.
This was my favorite campaign this year because domestic workers, who are primarily immigrant women in California and who provide child care, house-cleaning, home care and attendant services for more than 2 million households across the state, have been uniquely vulnerable to workplace violations and wage theft, lacking written work agreements and basic information about their rights. This landmark program signifies an unprecedented and critical step taken by the legislature and the Governor of California to protect the rights and dignity of domestic workers.
Q: What would a California with true equality, gender justice, and economic justice look like?
KA: True economic and gender justice looks like shifting our culture to truly value the work and lives of women of color and immigrants. We must end exclusions from basic labor protections and ensure dignified and equitable work conditions for everyone. Furthermore, we must transform the systems of care in California. All families should be able to enjoy accessible childcare and homecare for our seniors and community members with disabilities. At the same time, workers who provide those crucial services should be guaranteed safe, dignified, and fair work conditions.
True economic and gender justice looks like shifting our culture to truly value the work and lives of women of color and immigrants.
Q: How has Stronger California helped you and your organization advance your goals/mission?
We are so honored to be a part of the Stronger California Network, to have the voices and leadership of domestic workers be amplified by such a powerful alliance of Women advocates and organizations. We have been thrilled to be a part of this strong network, that is seeking positive change for working women and families in California.