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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