(Washington D.C.) In commemoration of National Child Care Provider Appreciation Day, the National Women’s Law Center is launching #WeAreTheBackbone, a national effort to center the essential work of child care providers and the value of child care to our economy and our society.

The campaign features portraits by artist Mariah Williams of child care providers from the ACCA Development Center and Hopkins House placed on billboards, bus stops, and public transit in New York City and Washington D.C. through July 9, reminding the leaders of the financial world and the political world of the workers who make their lives possible.

“Child care providers bring invaluable benefits to our children, our families, and our communities every day,” said Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center. “Our entire economy is dependent upon their labor, yet razor-thin margins and a dearth of public investment means the workers themselves receive poverty-level wages and few benefits. Between the work of child care providers and mothers, it is long past time for our government to recognize the value of all care work–regardless of where it happens and regardless of who provides it.”  

“Since the start of this unprecedented health crisis more than a year ago, Hopkins House has remained open and operating to care for the children of essential workers, and had no reported cases of coronavirus infection among our staff or the children in our care,” said J. Glenn Hopkins, president and CEO of Hopkins House. “The financial investments in child care made by the federal government during this crisis made this possible. However, if Hopkins House and the nation’s other child care providers are to survive and continue this essential work caring for and protecting America’s children, long-term, permanent federal investment is vital. We are pleased to partner with the National Women’s Law Center and other child care providers to get this urgent message out to the public and government policymakers.”

“Early Childhood Educators nurture and advance the development of our country’s future through the care they provide for our youngest population,” said Kae Bieber, Education Programs Manager at ACCA Child Development Center. “Yet, Early Childhood Educators are historically one of the most underpaid professions in America. The Covid pandemic has amplified the financial challenges and left uncovered the gaping hole of inequity our Early Childhood Educators face despite literally placing their lives in danger to continue providing the most fundamental service for our society. Now, more than ever, it is time to properly pay Early Childhood Educators, make high-quality early childhood education equitable and accessible for all families, and ensure safeguards are put into place through legislation that will fully support workers providing this core societal need.”

Installations can be viewed at:

New York – 5/10

  • Digital Bulletin (The Bird) – 719 7th Ave

Chicago – 5/10

  • Digital Poster Ontario @ State St
  • Digital Poster Southport N/O Lincoln SE
  • Digital Poster North Ave W/O Honore St E
  • Digital Poster Clark @ Diversey & Broad SE
  • Digital Poster Belmont W/O N. Racine

Phoenix – 5/10

  • Digital Bulletin – I-10 W/O 19th Ave

Washington, DC – 5/17

  • Bike Share
    • 19th & Constitution
    • Independence Washington Ave SW
    • Pennsylvania Ave NW E/O 15th St
    • The Anthem/Maine Ave S/O 9th St SW
    • 7th & E St SW

Denver – 6/28

  • E Colfax 4341 Ns 500 ft E/O Colorado Bd

Occurring the Friday before Mother’s Day, Provider Appreciation Day was started in 1996 by a group of volunteers in New Jersey who saw the need to recognize the tireless efforts of providers who care for children of working parents. Support for this event has grown each year and recognition presently includes individuals and government organizations throughout the United States. In 2021, efforts are ramping up more than ever to recognize the difficulties that providers have gone through during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Child care providers are 92% women, disproportionately women of color, and are paid an average of $11.12 per hour–despite providing invaluable benefits to the families they serve, the children they care for, and the economy as whole. Since the start of the pandemic, 1 in 6 child care workers remains unemployed, and nearly half of child care providers have been threatened with permanent closure.

According to the National Women’s Law Center and the Center on Poverty & Social Policy, a comprehensive universal child care plan would increase the average mother of two’s lifetime earnings by $97,000.

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About ACCA Development Center

ACCA Child Development Center provides affordable, high-quality early education and developmentally appropriate care for children ages 3 months to 5 years in a safe, health, and diverse environment.We believe in the development of the whole child; that all children can learn; that children do best in engaging environments; that families and community are vital for children’s development; and that all children can become contributing members of society. As educators of young children, we are committed to advocacy for our children, families, and the profession of early childhood education.

About Hopkins House

Founded in 1939, Hopkins House is a nonprofit, high-impact, community-based learning center for children, youth, and families. Serving communities throughout the Northern Virginia metropolitan area, the organization operates education enriched preschool academies for infants and children, summer discovery camps for adolescents, and a college and career development institute for teens and adults, that help build the foundation for 21st century achievement and success in the new global economy.

About Mariah Williams

Mariah Williams is an American artist from Maryland. Her home town has always been the DMV where she was raised, in Prince Georges’s County. She received her Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) from the Historical Treasure, Morgan State University, in Baltimore. While her undergraduate concentration was illustration, she focused her attention mainly on painting, specifically portraiture. Mariah’s studio practice consists of painting in mediums such as acrylic and oil. Heavily influenced and inspired by artists such as Delita Martin, Barkley Hendricks, and Kerry James Marshall, Mariah considers her artwork to be a showcase of black figures and a study of blackness and identity. Her artistic approach uses photography and painting to study facial structure, expression, skin tone, and lighting to highlight the identities of the diaspora as well as her own. Williams has participated in pop-up art shows in New York as well as the District of Columbia.

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