The Radical Roots of Mother’s Day as a Pandemic-Fighting Movement

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For the millions of mothers working on the front lines and the millions more incarcerated across America right now—80 percent of women in jail are mothers—spending Mother’s Day at a mandatory distance is a test of resilience. But also of solidarity. An 8-year-old and 10-year-old in Wisconsin created an online newspaper with their mother called the Quarantine Times to celebrate families everywhere; a mother and daughter are graduating together in North Carolina this week; doulas and midwives are organizing for change at the National Black Doulas Association; 150 hospital workers got a musical surprise for Mother’s Day in the Bronx; and the brilliantly creative Colorlines writer Rosana Cruz envisions “what a Mother’s Day steeped in racial and gender justice” could look like.

However you view the day, it’s grounded in searches for justice, traceable to anti-war activist Anna Jarvis, blues pioneer Bessie Smith, voting-rights activist Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation”), and tens of billions of women throughout history. The cards came later. Consumerism came later. Tweetable feasts, later. Overpriced gadgets that break in a week, later. The origins run deeper, so let us know how you view motherhood beyond Mother’s Day at recharge@motherjones.com. We’ll highlight some of your stories on our new daily Recharge blog.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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