In her Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870, Julia Ward Howe–the woman who is credited with founding the holiday–wrote : “In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask…that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed…to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”
A hundred and thirty-five Mother’s Days later, the feisty and fiercely intelligent women of Code Pink–the largest women-initiated, antiwar activist group in the country–are fulfilling Howe’s call to action. Founded in 2002 during the run-up to war in Iraq, Code Pink has grabbed the nation’s attention with some of the boldest, most direct, creative (and good-humored) protests against the war.
Among our favorite Code Pink actions: their four-month vigil in front of the White House; the “pink slip” campaign; crashing the RNC three nights in a row; interrupting hearings to demand the firing of Donald Rumsfeld, and, later, to protest the nomination of John Bolton.
Code Pink’s antiwar message is resonating with more and more Americans. The most recent opinion poll indicates that only 44 percent believe it was worth going to war in Iraq–the lowest levels since the invasion in 2003.
“Women have been the guardians of life–not because we are better or purer or more innately nurturing than men, but because the men have busied themselves making war,” Code Pink’s mission statement reads. “Because of our responsibility to the next generation, because of our own love for our families and communities and this country that we are a part of, we understand the love of a mother in Iraq for her children, and the driving desire of that child for life.”
To honor the radical, anti-war origins of Mother’s Day, don’t just buy a Hallmark card–instead, click here and participate in Code Pink’s “Mother’s Day Call for Peace.”
We also want to hear from you. Please let us know if you have a sweet victory you think we should cover by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Co-written by Sam Graham-Felsen, a freelance journalist, documentary filmmaker and blogger (www.boldprint.net) living in Brooklyn.