May 10, 2020

Mother’s Day. This day was originally designed by social justice organizer, Ann Jarvis in 1858to bring attention to conditions influencing high infant mortality rates in post-Civil War U.S. America. Abolitionist Julia Wardwent on to proclaim the day in protest of the carnage of war. During these days of social distancing, stay-at-home, and relentless statistics, I am thinking about the birth, life, death and rebirth cycle. On the surface, this Mother’s Day provides me with the impetus to account for our badly needed website update and to reflect on the adaptations to our youth programs in the current COVID 19 context. More exactly, this Mother’s Day opens a spacefor to cry out in righteous indignation and with a bleeding heart, not only for the massive of lives lost to this virus, but also for the continued violence against individuals and groups from communities of color.

I love "A Mother’s Prayer” by JerriAnne Boggis, Director of The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, to the superabundance of males in her family, and share her final paragraph here:

This mother's day I will don a white shirt and I will walk to honor the way too many Black men who lost their lives because as a people and a nation we have failed to deal with racism and its effects. I will walk in remembrance of the mothers who lost their sons to the brutality of enslavement. I will walk for the mothers who helplessly watched their sons being lynched, I will walk in solidarity with the mother's today who mourn the loss of their sons. And I will pray no one ever has to take this walk for me.

I share here a statement produced by The Truth Telling Project, one of our national partners with whom we work:

The Truth Telling Project Demands Justice and Equal Treatment Under the Law

We demand an end to the brutality and violation of human dignity against African Americans, Indigenous People, and the Latinx communities emerging from the Corona pandemic, as well as an end to the deadly force used by law enforcement, their surrogates, and the White citizens who are against us.

We will continue to shine a spotlight on police violence against African Americans especially because police in the US are killing black people at alarmingly disproportionate rates in comparison to White Americans. Specifically, there are multiple cases of killings and brutality by law enforcement most recently in Indianapolis - where police killed Sean Reed while he live-streamed on Facebook. In Los Angeles, LAPD violently beat an unarmed African American man; in Sacramento County CA a Rancho Cordova police officer brutalized 14 year old Elijah Tufono; in Manhattan, police officers brutally arrested a man, then a plainclothes officer brutalized a bystander; In Brooklyn, NYPD officers violently arrested an African American man for not wearing a face mask then threatened bystanders. These are just a few of the reported violations of human rights and dignity.

We demand justice be brought for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed and for the countless instances of brutality under the guide of law enforcement during the COVID-19 crisis.

We believe that increased brutality and violent policing is being justified under the #COVID-19 pandemic crisis which is further weakening the democratic institutions that direct law enforcement and have led to an absence of trust in law enforcement.

We also stand in strength and solidarity to reject the claim that people of color are biologically predisposed to this virus. We support the claim that we have been impacted by generations of structural violence that perpetuates inadequate health care, housing, education and employment for people of color. As well, promises must be kept by the federal government of the U.S. on behalf of Native communities throughout the nation. We demand the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury to release Federal COVID-19 relief funds to tribal communities.

And finally, some readings on the history and vision of Mother’s Day can be found at the Zinn Education Initiative at:

You may enjoy a sweet, short film by Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films with

The Seacoast Peace Academy 2013