This Mother's Day, hundreds of women traveled from around the world to celebrate mothers and honor the original Mother's Day Proclamation made by Julia Ward Howe in 1870 calling for an end to war at CODEPINK’s 3rd annual 24-hour vigil in Lafayette Park across from the White House.
On Saturday afternoon, women of all ages and backgrounds sprawled out along sidewalks around the park and in front of the main stage to participate in radical knitting circles. They were sewing the more than 8,000 pink and green square cozies together to create a quilt with the message “We Will Not Raise Our Children to Kill Another Mother’s Child.”
On many of them were messages pinned by the person who had originally knit the square to honor their own mother or child. Women read these aloud, which would spark another woman’s story, followed by lively discussion, laughter, tears, and even singing.
CODEPINK co-founders Jodie Evans, Medea Benjamin and Gael Murphy, actress Mimi Kennedy, Colonel Ann Wright, Sweeta Noori with Women for Women International Afghanistan, Cynthia Benjamin a mother of an Iraq deployed soldier, Iraq War Veteran and mother Lindsey Campbell, Veteran and spoken word artist Lori Perdue, among many others took the mic to share their own experiences as peace organizers, former soldiers, and mothers and women living under occupation.
Jodi Evans of CodePink
Attendees were encouraged to participate in learning circles with experts and facilitators on various issues including Gaza, Truth in Recruitment, Nuclear Disarmament, Economic Crisis, Women and War, Legislative Strategy and Being an Empowered Mama.
Festivities continued on into the night with more music, poetry, a film screening of Kathleen Foster’s “Afghan Women: A History of Struggle”, and a Pink Pajama Party in the park.
Sunday morning began with an Interfaith Ceremony lead by women of many ritual and religious traditions, which included singing, dancing and a silence for those loved ones lost at the hands of war. Dr. Patch Adams entertained the children and those young at heart.
After 24 hours of continuous knitting, the quilt had reached over 100 feet long. In the closing ceremony hundreds of women, men and children singing “Peace Shalom Shalom” and chanting quotes like “We will march until our feet are pink” offered the quilt and a message of peace to President Obama in front of the White House along with thousands of roses. Onlookers, some from as far away as Korea, were there to visit the White House, found themselves eagerly joining in by distributing roses, singing, taking photos, or writing the message “We Will Not Raise Our Children to Kill Another Mother’s Child” down, to share with others later. We're sure Julia Ward Howe would be proud.