Roxbury early childhood teacher accompanying Rep. Ayanna Pressley to SOTU

Jaqueline Sanches, a Mattapan resident, is a team lead at The Dimock Center.

Ayanna Pressley
John Tlumacki / The Boston Globe, File

A Boston early childhood teacher will be among the guests attending President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday night, traveling to the nation’s capitol with Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley. 

Jaqueline Sanches, a Mattapan resident who is an early head start teacher at the Dimock Center in Roxbury, is attending the event as Pressley’s guest, according to the congresswoman’s office. Sanches, who is originally from Cape Verde, worked at the Roxbury institution for nine years as an infant/toddler teacher in their head start programs and now serves as a team lead. 


According to Pressley’s office, Sanches is attending as Pressley’s guest to highlight that “educators are essential and their voices belong in every corridor where policy decisions are made.” 

Pressley has been pressing for Congress to make child care more affordable and accessible, calling for federal investments and living wages for early educators, among other policies to address the national child care crisis

“Our educators should be front and center as we talk about how to build a more just and inclusive nation,” Pressley said in a statement on Monday. “That must include strong, meaningful, and intersectional investments in our care economy, including affordable and accessible childcare, supporting the childcare and early education workforce, paid family leave, and more. Policies like these will allow folks like Jaqueline — an immigrant mother who has dedicated her life to caring for and educating our youngest children — to thrive.”

According to Pressley’s office, when Sanches’s first daughter was born four years ago, she struggled with the high cost of childcare but was able to enroll her child at the Dimock’s Early Head Start program at 6 months old. Now, her younger child, a 5-month-old boy, also attends the program where she works. 


“As an Early Head Start teacher, I know that all young children deserve the education we provide,” Sanches said in a statement. “But even for me, it was hard to afford and access full time care for my kids. I am grateful for Congresswoman Pressley’s support of better pay for childcare and Head Start teachers, and more affordable care for parents, and I’m honored to share my story at the State of the Union.”

Last year, Christina Morris, a Hyde Park resident, union carpenter, and mother of four, attended the State of the Union Address virtually as Pressley’s guest, also as an effort to make the case for strong investments in childcare.


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