Reflection Post Mother’s Day

Since Mother’s Day has just passed, I’ve been thinking a lot about how unbelievably few mothers of young children I’ve spoken to that are actually satisfied with the celebration of themselves, their worth, and their work. Even on that one day, specifically, that is all supposed to be about celebrating the unseen work we all do, every day – the Unseen and Unpaid labor that underpins every corner of our society, and this Nation’s economy. Women don’t feel seen, heard, acknowledged for their work.

Our policies skew the ideas of worth with earnings, and the immeasurable labor that mothers provide for their families, the disproportionate amount of earnings spent on household expenses, childcare, charitable giving over male counterparts… Are impossible to quantify.

But what if we’re suddenly, forcibly removed from the home for a bench warrant following a traffic ticket that we couldn’t arrange a payment plan for? If that sounds far-fetched to you, you may be unaware that over 60% of today’s current inmates are incarcerated because they cannot afford bail or fines. United States has over 25% of the world’s inmates, and well over half of those people are effectively in debtor’s prison – which we propose to be Unconstitutional?

A Mother’s Day bailout movement was started in the south. They raised money to reunite the families with incarcerated mothers on Mother’s Day, to draw attention to the issue.

nomoremoneybail.org shares that,

“Since 1980 the number of incarcerated women has grown by 700%… Black women are twice as likely as their white counterparts to be jailed. One in five transgender women have spent time in prison or jail and one in three of them reported being sexually assaulted while there. Eight in ten incarcerated women are mothers and nearly half are in local jails, locked in cages for crimes they have not been convicted of.”

Maybe it is an appropriate time to re-cultivate an activist history of Mother’s Day, as a lament of loss and demand for future equity? Exit to establish a way that we can truly, policy and behavior wise, acknowledge once and for all that black lives matter? Because the expectation for and subsequent dearth of flowers and candy is not pleasant – or sustainable.

The Mother’s Day did not become an official United States holiday until 1914, but abolitionist, feminist, and poet Julia Ward Howe issued this Mother’s Day Proclamation in response to the Restoration tumult – Boston,1890. This was 27 years before women were awarded with the right to vote for President.

“Arise, then… women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies.
Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage,
for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says:  Disarm, Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
nor violence vindicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
at the summons of war,
let women now leave all that may be left of home
for a great and earnest day of council.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take council with each other as to the means
whereby the great human family can live in peace,
each bearing after his own kind the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask
that a general congress of women, without limit of nationality,
may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient,
and at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
to promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
the amicable settlement of international questions,
the great and general interests of peace.“

Perhaps it is time to entertain these words and ideals in more concrete and modern ways.

Rebecca LaDuca

Mothering Justice member

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