Posts tagged ‘activism’

Happy Mother’s Day from Moms Rising

In appreciation for the hard work of mothers everywhere, MomsRising has made it possible for every mom to get a personalized Mother of the Year award — announced online in a faux news cast. Check it out! Send it to your favorite mothers so that they can be congratulated by President Obama, celebrated by Hollywood stars, praised by a remarkably articulate baby, and more. Make sure to check out the crawl under the newscast; they snuck in a nice little bit of educational content.


I woke at 3 AM and lay there a moment wondering why before realizing, Ah. All those calls I made to Virginia voters yesterday rubbed off: polls were opening in their state.

I managed to roll back over and sleep for an hour but then woke again, too anxious and excited to sleep any more — I feel like a kid waiting for her parents to wake on Christmas morning.

A friend in Pennsylvania reports that at 6:50 AM he was the 90th person on line to vote. To all my friends in swing states, I wish you patience and hope you have something good to read while you wait on line!

It’s 5:54 AM in California as I write this, and I’m just waiting for my turn to vote for change.

Lego for Change

Knock on some doors, make some calls, and don’t forget to vote.

Write to Marry Day (No on 8)

I tried to start a conversation about same-sex marriage with Ben and Eli, but Ben was so surprised to hear that some people don’t believe it should be legal that we got derailed. Eli only wanted to know if he could marry Ben some day. So no great wisdom from the kids on the topic, but here’s what I think in a nutshell: marriage has been around a long time, and it’s a better institution now than it was several hundred years ago (when it was basically a real estate deal) and it’s a better institution now than it was even several generations ago (when it was less a real estate deal but women still had few rights). The more people who can participate in the institution, the stronger it’s going to be. Vote No on Prop 8.

And because cute kids always help the cause, I’m including a picture of Ben at his first wedding, of our friends Brianna and Angie, back in the days when for same-sex couples it was a ceremonial ritual with no legal rights. Some day, I hope he looks back at this picture and smiles at how far our country has come.

Write to Marry Day Tomorrow!

Spread the word! On October 29th, Mombian is hosting a blog carnival to help defeat California’s Proposition 8.

Here’s the info from Mombian:

Please join bloggers around the country and around the world on Wednesday, October 29 to blog in support of marriage equality for same-sex couples and against California’s Proposition 8.

The event will give bloggers a chance to voice their opposition to Prop 8 and highlight what they may have already done, online or off, to stop the measure. The campaign will also educate California voters of the need to “go all the way” down the ballot to vote on the proposition.

Mike Rogers of PageOneQ approached me last week to ask if I’d organize a blog carnival like Blogging for LGBT Families Day, but this time to help generate awareness and action against Prop 8. I readily agreed, and here it is.

To participate, post on your own blog against Prop 8 on or before October 29, 2008, then submit the link to your post by completing the form below. Links to your own videos on YouTube or other video sites are also accepted.

Many of you have already done much to try and stop Prop 8 in California, donating and raising money, blogging, and talking with friends and family. Please share your efforts and post about them for Write to Marry Day, or submit a link to a previous post. This will help us create a comprehensive view of bloggers’ efforts to stop Prop 8.

I urge you to spread the word about this event as widely as possible, on both LGBT and mainstream sites. All bloggers who are against Prop 8 are welcome to contribute posts, regardless of where they live or whether they are LGBT or not.

I will showcase the full list of participants here on October 29.

Not only that, but all participants who leave a valid e-mail address will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to

I’ll be posting a little story here later.

Time To Do Something

I’m not over the shock of the Virginia Tech shootings yet, but my sadness now is tinged with more anger at the sheer needlessness of it. It could have been prevented. And I’m not talking about the Virginia Tech administration, I’m talking about our country’s administration. I’m talking about gun control laws. I’m moved by my dad’s J’Accuse blog post to lobby more strongly, today, right now, for gun control.

And here are some links so that you can, too.

Here’s the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Here’s the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Do something.

Good Riddance!

Another idiot off the airwaves. Thanks to the efforts of MomsRising‘s petition drive, bloggers like Everyday Mom and loads of other thoughtful people (and, of course, worried advertisers), Don Imus has lost his platform.

Good news.

Ice Cream and Consciousness-Raising

When I first read about and learned that they’d produced a film version of their book, The Motherhood Manifesto, I knew I wanted to write a column about the documentary. What better movie, after all, for a mama at the movies, than one expressly focused on the situation of mothers in this country today? I ordered the film via and drafted my column. But something was missing. This is a consciousness-raising movie, an organizing tool. Watching it by myself, I was missing a critical component of the film’s intent.

Before I could make plans to host a house party screening myself, I found an invitation in my inbox from a woman on my prenatal yoga teacher’s email list; my youngest child is almost two but I’ve stayed on the list for the supportive community it offers. I rsvp’d, interested in meeting the other mothers.

I arrived with a pan of brownies just as the other women arrived with snacks and drinks. Our hostess’ toddler was roaming around in his pj’s, happily greeting the other mamas, an entertaining reminder of why we’d come. We quickly fell into the kind of easy playground talk common to mothers everywhere. We could have gone on for hours, though, because this time we weren’t being interrupted by our children, only slightly distracted by our hostess’ sweet boy, who roamed from one of us to the next, clambering up on the couch for a cuddle, or lolling on the floor with his dog.

When we finally sat down to introduce ourselves properly (playground chat rarely involves the background basics of name, number of children, work, etc), the conversation quickly turned more significant. We have six children between us (ranging from 20 months to 5 years), and two more on the way; one of us is pregnant with her first child, and we admired her activism and foresight in attending this screening before even becoming a mom! All of us work in some capacity, all of us are struggling to find the right balance between our jobs and our children. One of us felt she’d lost out on a job opportunity because, interviewing when she was pregnant, she was seen by the employer as an unreliable prospect. Two of us have first-hand knowledge of the better family benefits offered to working mothers in other countries (in this case, England and Canada), and have no good answer for friends and family members who ask why the US makes it so hard on working moms. One of us actually concealed her motherhood while she worked on a graduate degree in order to maintain her status in the competitive, family-hostile program (another of us has heard so many of these difficult stories about women in higher education that she is co-editing a book on the subject.) We looked forward to seeing what the movie would say to us, how much of our own stories we would recognize in the stories on film. Our hostess, having already watched the first half of the movie in preparation for this moment, started the dvd, and took her son off to bed while we settled into watch.

I won’t go into the details of the movie here, in favor of describing our reaction. I am not exaggerating when I say that the film made us laugh, and it made us cry. We all appreciated the movie’s busy mom-friendly length (just an hour), and its clarity: organized around the six-point motherhood manifesto, each section of the film presents an entertaining mix of personal stories and statistics to dramatize and elucidate the difficulties working mothers face. We sat very quietly for a moment or two after the film ended, then our hostess got out some ice cream and as we dished it up and passed the brownies around, we started to talk again, but this time with more urgency, more focus.

As we discussed what aspects of the film hit most closely home, we focused particularly on healthcare, moved by the mother in the film whose child’s medical costs bankrupted her family. It is shocking that this country doesn’t offer universal healthcare for kids: it’s a truly affordable (since kids tend to be healthy), even money-saving government expenditure (universal child healthcare would result in healthier adults.)

We discussed the vulnerability we feel as women who have altered career plans to care for our children and then wind up financially dependent on our husbands. It puts a burden of stress on us and on our marriages. We all want to work, to offer role models to our children, to contribute to our family’s financial stability, and to maintain our sense of self. Yet we continue to struggle with combining work and family in a way that gives us time for both, and we weren’t at all surprised when the film tells us that lack of family time is the main reason mothers leave the workforce.

We shared how legislation really can affect us. One of us related how a change in California’s family leave between her pregnancies means that now her husband is also considering the logistics of when to take parental leave; “he has an empathetic understanding” of the challenges she faces, she said, and it has brought a new sense of balance to their marriage.

And finally, we discussed the tricky navigation we all face between public and private life, how protective we are of the time we give as volunteers and activists because of our desire for family time, and our sadness about feeling less generous “out there,” for society, because of the powerful claims on our private time. Meanwhile, we often feel so isolated, as mothers, we’re looking for a connection beyond the connection with our children, a way to extend our nurturing beyond the boundaries of family in order to improve the world for our children and our neighbors’ children. is savvy. They know they’re trying to organize about the most exhausted, overworked segment of the population, so the film suggests quick, strategic ways to help: send an email; sign a petition; write a letter. For those of us wanting a middle ground between internet activism and street demonstrations, the website suggests tips for organizing your own local activist group. Our small group quickly wrote up a wish list of three improvements we’d like to see for families in our city, exchanged email addresses, and promised to meet again. The Motherhood Manifesto inspired the activists in us.

cross-posted at