Q. What is Mothers Acting Up?
A. For me, our mission statement explains it best. It says, “We realize that we live in a world that does not prioritize or protect our children’s well-being and that this will not change without each of us finding the courage and commitment to speak out on their behalf. Mothers Acting Up is dedicated to mobilizing the gigantic political strength of mothers to ensure the health, education, and safety of every child, not just a privileged few.”
Q. Why was it important for you to mobilize mothers on behalf of children?
A. Mothers are such an incredibly powerful and eloquent voice for children and children’s issues, but mothers don’t really consider themselves to be political. We felt that if mothers were invited into the political arena and given a few tools, they could become a very powerful lobby. As mothers, we do all this work to care for our children, but we often don’t take that one extra step, which is to take a hand in shaping policies that will affect our children’s lives today and in the future. Also, the discrepancy between our reality and the reality of many other mothers who are trying to raise healthy and safe children is very painful, and we wanted to find some way to take effective action to contribute to the well-being of children around the world.
Q. How do you help mothers to take a stand?
A. The most important thing we can do is to invite mothers to get involved. As part of that invitation, we do three things. First, we have a website (www.mothersactingup.org) that offers monthly actions mothers can take to stand up for children. It also includes tools such as how to write a letter to the editor or how to contact your government representatives and congressional members and become an ally to them. Second, we focus on reclaiming Mother’s Day, which was initially envisioned by Julia Ward Howe in 1870 as a day when mothers would unite to stand up for peace and for the lives of children. The third thing we do is to produce an engagement calendar. Our second calendar, which is available now, is dedicated to the personal choices mothers can make in 2005, in the products they buy or in the way they vote, to publicly and passionately advocate for the world’s children.
Q. As we approach the holidays, what is the one gift you would want to give children?
A. I would want to let every child know that they have an advocate. Right now in our world there are more people standing up for children than ever before. More women are entering the political arena and starting to voice their values, concerns, and priorities. Children’s needs are being pushed to the forefront of our national dialogue. It is an incredible time, and that is very hopeful.
Q. What would you want to give mothers?
A. I would love to give every mother a calendar because it truly is a tool kit for how to find out about organizations that are involved in the issues mothers care about. In the calendar, there are portraits of 53 individuals who are creating the future right now. Their words are so encouraging and inspiring. Taking action, especially on behalf of children, brings oxygen to the soul and is the anecdote to despair. There isn’t a person reading this who doesn’t have tremendous reserves that are just waiting to be called up. Mothers Acting Up is about encouraging each of us to take that first step.