March 24, 2006


Mother's Day is often seen as if through a soft-focus lens -- a sentimental day of cards and flowers and frills.

It has a surprisingly radical history, however. Just as International Women's Day, March 8, started as a day for women to rise up for peace and justice, so did Mother's Day in the US begin with Julia Ward Howe's inspirational 1870 Proclamation against the carnage of the Civil War:

Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!…
Our husbands will 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, the 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 voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!

Julia goes on to exhort women to leave their homes and gather for an “earnest day of counsel” to figure out how “the great human family can live in peace.” It's time to take Julia's words to heart and bring them to fruition in the world. Bouquets of spring flowers may be lovely, but lasting peace is the greatest way to honor all mothers -- past, present and future. Read the rest of Julia's Proclamation here.

Join us this Mother's Day weekend, May 13-14, in Washington DC as we gather for a 24-hour vigil outside the White House. Bring your mother, your children, your grandmother, your friends, your loved ones. Come for the whole vigil (4pm Saturday to 4pm Sunday) or for a few hours! We'll sing, dance, drum, bond, laugh, cry and hug. We'll write letters to Laura Bush to appeal to her own mother-heart, and read them aloud. We'll discuss new ideas for ending the war and building peace. In the final two hours, from 2-4pm on Sunday, we'll be joined by some amazing celebrity actresses, singers, writers--and moms. For more information & a schedule of events to help you plan your trip, check out the Mothers' Day page on the CODEPINK website. If you can't join us, you can create or join a Mother's Day activity in your own community. For ideas to help you plan an action check out the resources section of the Mother's Day page.

And whether you're in the US or overseas, please consider writing a letter to Laura Bush to ask her how she, as a mother, can continue to support a war that is leaving scores of American and Iraqi mothers bereft. Send your letters to, we'll deliver them en masse; we'll also take the most compelling letters and turn them into a book, “Letters to Laura.

Let's make this Mother's Day, May 14, one where we heed Julia Ward Howe's original call to action. Let's come together to build the world we want for our children -- and our mothers.

Alison, Dana, Farida, Gael, Jodie, Medea, Rae and Tiffany