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I don’t have to tell you that Mother’s Day is complicated. Estranged relationships, deceased mothers, mothers unjustly behind bars or walls, infertility, narrow definitions of gender and mother, and the raced and classed way society classifies a “good” mother just tip the iceberg on this beautifully complicated Hallmark holiday.  But is there something about this day worth saving?  I think so.  Her roots, after all, are grounded in badass peace activist mamas.  Plus, when we have mother figures in our lives we appreciate and love, celebrating them is one of the most magical feelings in the world.

So let's reclaim Mother's Day for good. To do that, we've got to rise above the flowers and unchecked salutations and celebrate in a way that propels humanity to imagine mothering in an inclusive, revolutionary, communal and liberating way.

Here are 5 suggestions from this cis white mother who’s trying:

  1. Center, see and celebrate nonbinary, trans, and gender nonconforming siblings who mother us all.  Cue the stunning picture above illustrated by Ethan X Parker.

2. Give to the National Bail Out so a mother imprisoned by our racist police system and the violence of cash bail can be reunited with their child this Mother’s Day.  

3. Lift up struggles of mothers whose skin doesn’t resemble yours (if you’re white like me).  Did you know that black women are 3.3 times more likely than white women to suffer a pregnancy-related death and Native American and Alaska Native women 2.5 times more likely to die than white women? We can do something about this. Get involved with the Black Mamas Matter Alliance and support candidates who center changing this disparity. If you’re in New York, attend a viewing and discussion of the Fusion film “Death By Delivery” on Tuesday night, May 14th at Middle Church. 

4. Join a Mother’s Day Rally to #endfamilyseparation and #endchilddetention.  This struggle continues, just over a year after the zero tolerance policy was enacted. 

5. Send a card, text or flowers to your friend struggling with infertility, lost their mother recently, or is otherwise estranged from a central mother figure in their life.

Which action are you committed to? How are you liberating and reimagining Mother’s Day? What’s at stake if we don’t?

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who mothers towards a better tomorrow!

One Comment

  • Catherine says:

    These are such great ideas, Amanda. Thanks for everything you do. I definitely want to see Death by Delivery – we all need to step up to fix this crisis.

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