Meghan Markle Surprises Paid-Leave Campaign Workers With Gift Cards

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Meghan Markle is continuing her fight for paid leave in the United States. And in an effort to help others push for paid leave, the Duchess of Sussex surprised employees of the nonprofit PL+US, which is working to win paid family and medical leave for all in the U.S. by 2022, with $25 Starbucks gift cards. The gift cards were supplied through her and Prince Harry's Archewell Foundation.

Neil Sroka, communications director for PL+US, shared a screenshot of his gift card to Twitter, thanking the mother of two for having their backs and supplying them with a couple cups of much-needed coffee as they fight to secure paid leave for all.

"The Duchess of Sussex (aka #MeghanMarkle) bought everyone at @PaidLeaveUS a few cups of coffee while we're working overtime to #SavePaidLeave. Unbelievably classy... and necessary. Truly honored to know she has our backs in the fight to win #PaidLeaveForAll," Sroka wrote.

Markle's kind gesture comes just weeks after she wrote an open letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, in which she shared her personal story of struggle to help make the case for paid family leave.

In the letter, which was published by Paid Leave for All, Markle said that while she's not a politician, she felt it was her duty as a mom and an advocate to urge those who make the decisions to put a plan for paid family leave in place.

"I'm not an elected official, and I’m not a politician. I am, like many, an engaged citizen and a parent," the letter began. "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."

An issue that the duchess said is that much more important amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a time in which she noted in a separate post on her 40th birthday, that women were exiting the workforce in the large numbers.

"Over the past 20 months, the pandemic has exposed long-existing fault lines in our communities," she continued. At an alarming rate, millions of women dropped out of the workforce, staying home with their kids as schools and daycares were closed, and looking after loved ones full-time. The working mom or parent is facing the conflict of being present or being paid. The sacrifice of either comes at a great cost."

Later in the letter, the duchess looked back on her own upbringing and the struggles she witnessed her family go through as a child, sharing that she held a job at a young age. 

She also acknowledged the privilege she and Harry have been afforded and the resources they have that have allowed them to devote time to their two children, Archie, 2 and four-month-old Lilibet, adding that no family should have to choose between going to work and taking care of their loved ones.

"No family should be faced with these decisions," she went on to write. "No family should have to choose between earning a living and having the freedom to take care of their child (or a loved one, or themselves, as we would see with a comprehensive paid leave plan)."

Markle concluded the impassioned letter by advocating for a national paid-leave mandate for all American parents, something that she said would help take care of the country as a whole.

"In taking care of your child, you take care of your community, and you take care of your country—because when paid leave is a right, we’re creating a foundation that helps address mental health outcomes, health care costs, and economic strength at the starting line," Markle stressed. "Paid leave should be a national right, rather than a patchwork option limited to those whose employers have policies in place, or those who live in one of the few states where a leave program exists. … This is about putting families above politics."

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