The opinions expressed in entries in the LC Blog are those of the author, not of Lawyers Club of San Diego.

Lawyers Club Blog

Posted by: Yahairah Aristy on Sep 2, 2020

Labor Day. Summer Vacations Winding Down. First Day of School. New Outfit. Freshly Sharpened Pencils. Parents-Sad, Happy, & Off to Work. These common September experiences are suspended this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents will reinvent these experiences to capture the pandemic version. What will not be seen in the photos or videos is the worry, the tears, and the struggle of parents as they determine how to ensure their child receives a quality education. The quality of which will depend on if the child attends school in-person, attends virtually at home or a combination.

Rightfully or not, the government and school districts decide. California’s guidebook for the safe reopening of California public schools, Stronger Together, while not a one-size-fits-all guide, makes clear that the health and safety of the students and staff is the top priority when deciding to physically reopen schools. The California Department of Public Health in July 2020 approved in-person school instruction for any school district or school in a county not on the COVID-19 monitoring list.
The negative impact of the school closures cannot be understated for working parents in our legal community. This negative impact will weigh most heavily on women, who bear the greatest child rearing responsibilities in the majority of United States’ families. Consequently, female employees will suffer most the limitations inherent in the federal and state laws that provide paid leave to care for a child whose school is close.
Given that, what can we as Lawyers Club members do to help improve the circumstances for our colleagues who are experiencing an additional inequity simply because they are females? We can advocate because “[g]ender equality and women rights are essential to getting through the pandemic together, to recovering faster, and to build a better future for everyone” (Justice for Women Amidst COVID-19 Report quoting António Guterres United Nations Secretary-General).
We can be allies by supporting lawmakers that advance proactive legislation on reproductive health, rights and justice, which the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) divides into six categories, abortion, contraception, pregnancy care, sexuality education, supporting parents, and nondiscrimination (NIRH Gaining Ground 2020 Midyear Report July 2020 emphasis added).
Each of us can join Lawyers Club on September 17, 2020 for Lawyers Club’s Advocacy and Reproductive Justice Committee’s first virtual event exploring Reproductive Justice Amidst the Pandemic.
I hope to see you then.
In Solidarity,

-Article first published in LC News, September 2020

Yahairah Aristy is a Deputy Public Defender, and is the 2020-2021 president of Lawyers Club of San Diego.