Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) points out that Mother’s Day did not begin with greeting cards and chocolate boxes: it began with a cry for peace. In 1872, Julia Ward
Howe, a wife, mother, poet, early abolitionist and suffragette, found herself appalled at the state of the world. The Civil War had left countless families mourning in the U.S., and the Franco-Prussian War had just claimed thousands of lives in Europe. She believed war was unnecessary, savage, and contradicted all that mothers stood for; she believed it was ruining lives: of those killed and maimed, of those mourning, and of those who had to fight. Julia Ward Howe proposed that one day a year, we step back and act on behalf of the values represented by motherhood: values that “make for peace.” She called it Mother’s Peace Day.
WAND was originally formed to prevent nuclear war, and to bring about nuclear disarmament. In the 1980s — when the threat of nuclear war loomed large — WAND tapped into the original spirit of Mother’s Day to urge disarmament.
Since the Cold War ended, WAND has focused more on how our federal budget pie is sliced; believing that the Pentagon gets far too large a slice — over half the discretionary budget. Today, while the U.S. continues to wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan, WAND directs its energies toward educating and empowering women to take action on issues that affect our lives, and our children’s lives: encouraging nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, reducing excessive military spending, supporting alternatives to war as a means of resolving differences. Today, as in 1872, WAND believes we need to proclaim a day of peace and celebration of mother’s values.
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows received the WAND Mother’s Day Award at a ceremony in the Massachusetts State House in Boston in May, 2003.
Web site: http://www.wand.org/