“What solidarity there historically was for protesting women, then, was based in homemaking and child-rearing…In Virginia, during the Civil War, it was meat the women were after, eventually stealing 500 pounds of bacon. In Russia, during WWI, it was a shortage of sugar that set off a riot. Through time, and across the world though, it’s often the women who lead the charge: in Nigeria in the 1920s, it was the potential taxation of the market women that sparked a heroic-and successful-revolt against the colonial authorities…” - from an article in The Nation by Michelle Dean.
We mothers are a force to be reckoned with in many ways. Having attended marches, rallies and meetings, it has become crystal clear to me that a growing number of mothers are, and have been, a catalyst for positive change in the world. (Please note: I am not dismissing the contribution of wonderful fathers or those women who are, for one reason or another, childless.)
I recently joined Mothers Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group founded the day after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. Moms Demand Action was founded by one mother (Shannon Watts of Indianapolis) and began as a grassroots FB group which has grown into an organization of 200,000+ members. They lobby the government for sensible gun reform and have begun to see progress.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving was formed in 1980 by a woman whose 13 year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver. MADD, a powerful organization who lobbies state and local governments to reduce drunk driving deaths through legislation, are credited for laws lowering the blood alcohol limit and promoting Victim Impact Statements.
One of the most impassioned and devoted mother’s groups is the Madres de Plaza del Mayo of Argentina. In 1977, 14 mothers, wearing white head scarves, began marching weekly in the Plaza de Mayo in front of the presidential palace (their final march was held in 2006). These women marched to protest the Argentinian military who were eventually implicated in the torture and murder of thousands (their children among them). Many of their victims just “disappeared” and were never heard from again. It is these “Mothers of the Disappeared” marching for all those years (some now in their 80’s) who demanded action had their voices heard: 1,000 of the accused have been brought to trial and 700 sentenced.
Each of these movements, which began from a place of grief and anger, were started by moms. Moms who started small and grew into groups that brought about real change. Moms who were dedicated and refused to give up. Moms who were a force to be reckoned with. Moms who demanded, and received, action.