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

The coronavirus is a rapidly developing news story, so some of the content in this article might be out of date. Check out our most recent coverage of the coronavirus crisis, and subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

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.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate