"Dear Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, I'm not an elected official, and I'm not a politician. I am, like many, an engaged citizen and a parent," the Duchess of Sussex began in her lengthy note. "And because you and your congressional colleagues have a role in shaping family outcomes for generations to come, that's why I'm writing to you at this deeply important time—as a mom—to advocate for paid leave."
She said that the pandemic – which has continued for nearly two years at this point – "has exposed long-existing fault lines in our communities." She also pointed out that many women have had to leave the workforce to stay home with their children while schools and childcare facilities were closed to curb the spread of coronavirus.
"The working mom or parent is facing the conflict of being present or being paid. The sacrifice of either comes at a great cost," Markle insisted. "For many, this sacrifice goes back further than the past 20 months; it's 20 or 30 years, even longer—decades of giving time, body, and endless energy not just in the pursuit of the American dream, but simply the dream of stability."
The "Suits" alum recalled dining at cheap restaurants as a child, which her parents had to work "hard" to afford.
Markle also reflected on her first job, working at a frozen yogurt shop at 13, before waiting tables, babysitting, and piecemealing jobs together "to cover odds and ends." She said that despite working hard, most of her money went toward rent and gas.
"I expect many of your constituents have their own version of that story. Perhaps you do too," she noted. "People in our country work incredibly hard, and yet the task is soft: for a level playing field to achieve their version of a common dream—what is fair, and equal, and right. Many of our economic systems are past their expiration date, and as you well know, too many Americans are forced to shortchange themselves when it comes to what matters to them."
"The Bench" author then made note of her own privilege, explaining that when she and Prince Harry welcomed their daughter Lilibet in June, they "weren't confronted with the harsh reality of either spending those first few critical months with our baby or going back to work" and didn't "have to make impossible choices about childcare, work, and medical care that so many have to make every single day."