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Juneteenth: Honoring Black Direct Care Workers’ Essential Contributions

June 19, 2024

On this Juneteenth, PHI honors the essential contributions of Black direct care workers, who make up nearly one in three workers in this workforce. Today, we recognize the ongoing challenges that Black direct care workers face due to the legacy of slavery, structural racism, gender inequities, and the historical devaluation of care work.

Even after slavery was abolished, many Black women remained limited to demanding yet undervalued domestic and care work. The deliberate exclusion of these jobs from early labor protections and the persistence of poverty-level wages have undermined economic security for many Black women doing this essential work.

At PHI, we are committed to transforming direct care jobs for the millions of U.S. direct care workers, while also implementing targeted strategies to support Black workers and people of color to succeed in these roles. We call on policymakers to collect data on racial disparities in this workforce, design interventions that address systemic barriers, and enact policies to improve jobs and support the professionals in this sector.

As we reflect on our nation’s history of racial injustice this Juneteenth, we celebrate Black direct care workers, reaffirming our mission to uplift this workforce today and every day. The care and support that they provide is invaluable to our nation’s families, communities, and care systems. It’s essential that they have our respect, our recognition, and fair compensation for their essential work.

Contributing Authors

Caring for the Future

Our new policy report takes an extensive look at today's direct care workforce—in five installments.

Workforce Data Center

From wages to employment statistics, find the latest data on the direct care workforce.