Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers' Day! A Day Born of Righting a Social Wrong!

It is Mothers' Day! Notice where the apostrophe is located: after the "s" and not before it, showing that this day commemorates those who are mothers, or are like mothers, or wannabe mothers, whether one is male or female. After all, whether our mother is someone we are close to (speaking as a momma's boy), or are in a tenuous relationship, or are grieving lost opportunities of care, our mothers are necessary for being here. And, for better or for worse, there are certain emotions and habits associated with the "maternal" in this society.

The origin of Mothers' Day in this society has a strong justice-edge to it, which is often forgotten in this modern day of celebrating the Betty Crocker image of motherhood, versus the Bella Abzug image of mothers. Here is a portion of the entry in Wikipedia regarding Mothers' Day:

The United States celebrates Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May. In the United States, Mother's Day was loosely inspired by the British day and was imported by social activist Julia Ward Howe after the American Civil War. However, it was intended as a call to unite women against war. In 1870, she wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation as a call for peace and disarmament. Howe failed in her attempt to get formal recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace. Her idea was influenced by Ann Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called Mothers' Work Days. She organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides, and in 1868 she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors.

When Jarvis died in 1907, her daughter, named Anna Jarvis, started the crusade to found a memorial day for women. The first such Mother's Day was celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia, on 10 May 1908, in the church where the elder Ann Jarvis had taught Sunday School. Originally the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, this building is now the International Mother's Day Shrine (a National Historic Landmark). From there, the custom caught on — spreading eventually to 45 states. The holiday was declared officially by some states beginning in 1912. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother's Day, as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.

We who are LGBTQ honor, remember, celebrate mothers, whether we are moms, grandmothers, aunts, god-mothers, wannabe mothers...we are here because of mothers!

Peace, Brett

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