Dearest Mothers Acting Up Community:
For years we’ve talked about creating a “magnificent revolution” led by mothers stepping into new public leadership roles on behalf of the world’s children. Today there is clear evidence we’re living inside that revolution—from Shayne Moore’s book Global Soccer Mom: Changing the World is Easier Than You Think to theupcoming 3-year film project Women and Girls Lead, from the glorious voices atWorld Pulse, CARE, ONEMoms, and The Motherhood, to individuals as famous as Julia Roberts or Christy Turlington Burns and as familiar as you and your neighbor.
In light of this, it is no longer necessary for Mothers Acting Up to be out in front, waving the MAU flag, (even though it is a really beautiful flag … ) and we’ve chosen to close Mothers Acting Up as an organization.
Not that our work as mothers acting up is over—far from it—it’s just that mothers are taking action into our own capable hands. Mothers clearly got the memo that we’re the ones we’ve been waiting for and are Acting Up without need of a third party. There is currently atremendous amount of coherent, effective work being done on every issue impacting the world’s children, as well as opportunities for mothers to engage directly with organizations. In addition, the Internet is bringing mothers around the globe into conversations with each other—across every boundary imaginable—to share challenges, solutions & resources, and create personalized entry points into activism. In effect, we are each leading the revolution.
When Mothers Acting Up started ten years ago, this was most definitely not the case. Activism was a very suspicious activity—somewhat akin to terrorism—and definitely not appropriate to include children in or really even speak about in polite society. Not a single person we encountered wanted to be called an activist; there were many who visually blanched. Few of us used money to “vote” for the world’s children, or saw children’s lives as interconnected, fewer still had found our public voice on issues we were passionate about—or found agency in our mothering roles, or communicated with our Members of Congress. Suffice it to say, no one was blogging. Today though, when mothers look in the mirror, we don’t see a person solely defined by her private roles, we see a powerful global change agent. Or, if we don’t quite see her yet, we certainly see our friends as change agents, and can see ourselves in them.
MAU has been immensely proud to be part of this transformation by offering inspiration, education and engagement in the form of principles for exuberant activism; daily, weekly & monthly actions; tools and recipes that ranged from how to take a field trip to your MOC to how to build stilts; templates for glorious Mother’s Day parades and events that engaged hundreds of thousands; annual calendars featuring hundreds of organizations and individuals; coaching mother leaders, action groups & MAU communities; presenting the MOTHER tour to inspire personal transformation and strengthen the voices of mothers; contributing through the personal story and scholarship of MAU co-founder Beth Osnes to the wildly evocative movie on population, Mother: Caring for Seven Billion; and sharing intimate portraits from the MQs.
We’ve been especially honored to do all this with you; your actions, feedback, financial support and friendship have guided and inspired not only the organization, but our personal lives as well. We’re grateful to every mother and other who has been a part of this journey, stepping outside of comfort zones and sharing courage, challenges and triumphs. We celebrate this magnificent revolution with you in mind.
As written years ago in one of the calendars:
we are mothers, sisters, family
wrapped in different cloth, standing under the same wide sky
and we’ve come to the very end of our silence
together we’ve found our voice
and it is loud
and it is beautiful
and it sings a love song for our children
In the last few years, we did come to the end of our silence, and we have found our voice. So keep your ears tuned … someone near you is singing. When you hear them, join in and crank up the volume, because it is precisely this song that will shape our world’s future and touch all the lives that are to come.
With deep gratitude and in spirited partnership,
Karen, Juliana, Anjali, Joellen, Amy, Stacy, Beth, and Erica
P.s. Please read the other posts featuring a few of the individuals and organizations that MAU has been honored to partner with. You most likely are familiar with them, if not, visit their Websites and engage in their incredible work.
P.s. We wanted to share our final MAU photo—interestingly enough, it is as strange as our first! Also, some information: PLEASE leave any and all messages here in the comment box and elves will make sure the entire crew sees them. This Website will be live until April 2012, so no worries—you can still find that recipe on how to take a field trip to your Member of Congress, or read the MAU Principles again to commit them to memory. MAU co-founder Joellen Raderstorf will continue tweeting @actingupmama and The MOTHER tour will be accessible at www.MOTHERtour.org. Finally, the MAU FaceBook pagewill continue sharing the thoughts and actions of our MAU network for the foreseeable future—including the Acting Up of the MAU Central group—so please keep contributing your thoughts and actions on that page.
From MAU’s Director, Joellen Raderstorf:
I was told recently by a friend that the reason emotions run so high at this time of year is that there’s physical and emotional clearing in preparation for the NEW year. And we always thought it was our families … So what do we do with all this emotion?
We voice our discontent and then we take action. Join me now in a silent scream for many of the current news stories and the harsh conditions half of the world’s children endure. Okay, scream over, feeling lighter, we now take center stage.
Mothers, it may sound crazy, but it’s time for us to rule the world, (sharing the stage with others of course!) As our human family evolves, the potential to create a more sane and just world has never been stronger. Time to set modesty aside and recognize who we are as mothers: creative problem solvers, tenacious negotiators and passionately committed activists (whether we recognize it or not.)
Mothers shared the stage when 100,000 people from all over the world gathered in the streets in Copenhagen to talk about the future of our children’s planet. Mothers joined millions tweeting climate news out to the world. Mothers embraced a global shift by buying fair trade gifts and sponsoring Kiva micro-loans for teenagers and grandparents alike this year.
We spend the money, we raise future generations, we connect the dots and we talk about it. According to a study by the Keller Fay Group, moms-to-be and those with children under five have an average of 109 discussions per week. We have the power to rule the world in our conversations alone. Do the math: 100 mothers can spread the word to 10,900 in one week. If each of those mothers spread the word, 1,188,100 million people will join the conversation and by round three we reach 129 million people.
MAU invites you to take advantage of the amped-up information highways and:
- Make caring for the world’s children a universal conversation.
- Incorporate action on behalf of the world’s children into our daily lives in 2010 and beyond.
- Recognize that our activism serves the world, no need to hide or apologize for this passion.
- Invite diverse voices into this conversation; everyone needs to be heard.
- Use social media to reach more mothers.
- Support the MAU movement with a small monthly donation.
It’s time to step into our power. Our children and their peers around the world are calling for leadership, watching the world stage … Ahem: do you have stage fright? No worries; we’ll act together, every step of the way.
This time of year, most of us get caught up stressing about finding the perfect gift for our loved ones, festive ways to make centerpieces out of pinecones, or where to sleep the hoards of relatives who will soon be congregating in our homes. For many of us, the holidays end up being anything but a relaxing, spiritual time; instead, they’re often a whirlwind of commercialism, planning, cleaning, and trying to find that perfect gift for the kids, while ignoring the nagging thought they probably won’t play with it for more than a week or two this year, either.
According to a recent survey, three in four Americans wish the holidays were less materialistic, and nine in ten wished the holidays were more about spending time with family and friends, and less about giving and receiving gifts (Center for the New American dream). That sentiment is probably shared by many of our friends and family members, especially in the midst of financial and environmental crises, combined with the knowledge that many of our favorite toys and brands were manufactured by exploited workers in poor countries. A cultural shift regarding the meaning of the holidays would be beneficial to the world we live in and our personal wellbeing, but breaking the societal cycle of consumerism can be difficult, especially when your kids really need this new toy to be cool, happy, or whatever. And nobody wants to be the first vocal Grinch who admits that she currently dreads the holidays, more than looks forward to them.
But there are practical solutions that can help alleviate stress, reduce consumerism, and create new traditions, which encourage and nourish quality family time. What if instead of spending lots of time and money searching for the perfect toy, necklace, or home mani-pedi kit, we instead spent our gift money on fun, non-material things which friends and families can enjoy together—tickets to go see a great band, gift vouchers for a favorite restaurant or brewery, ski passes or Nuggets tickets. There are all sorts of fun things we can give as gifts which honor the giving season while allowing us to share experiences and spend time together. I’m talking about things that will still elicit that thrilling, Christmas morning grin, but that won’t end up in a landfill in two months, weren’t manufactured by exploited laborers, and don’t send our kids the message that material items are synonymous with happiness.
For our grownup friends, what if we hosted a holiday dinner and suggested that instead of gifts, everyone bring $10 to contribute to a charity of the host’s choice, and spend the dinner having spirited, soul-satisfying conversations about the issues facing our world today? Be creative! There are tons of ways to use our collective political and financial power for good instead of mass consumption, and it will probably be received as a refreshing break from typical holiday pressures to buy hostess gifts and gather to discuss the latest fad diets and SAT prep courses for two hours. Your creative ideas can generate real power, especially when your neighbors catch on and the tradition begins to spread.
For those of us unable or unwilling to give up traditional gift giving, fair trade is a great option which ensures that the workers were fairly paid for their labor and the working conditions are safe, healthy, and do not promote environmental degradation. There are a number of ways to find fair trade stores and products in your area—but checking out Global Exchange may be a good place to start: www.globalexchange.org.
Once the gifts are purchased, we can even exercise our power to positively impact our world by being conscious of how we wrap our gifts—why waste money and trees on wrapping paper when you can be creative and environmentally conscious by wrapping in the colorful Sunday comics page? People will appreciate these personal touches and efforts to be conscious, and you will be saving money and stress in the process—not to mention setting a great example for your kids!
Speaking of kids, are you still worried about what to tell your kid when she looks at you with those big brown doe eyes and explains, didactically and heart-wrenchingly, exactly why she needs the newest, latest gizmo-gadget to be happy? After all, what parent doesn’t want to give their child whatever it is their child most desires, especially in the age of “everybody else’s parent is getting it?” But if you, the parent, can’t stand up against what “everybody else’s parent” is doing, how is your child ever going to learn to stand up to what “everybody else is doing?” And isn’t that precisely what we try to teach them about drugs, alcohol, sex, etc—to be their own person, no matter what “everybody else” happens to be doing? (And speaking from personal experience, the “everybody else is getting it” is usually just a line anyway … )
A holiday blog by the wonderful MAU maven and intern, Hanna Johnson. Visit the MAU site
for more on creating new traditions and inspired giving.
Through the organization 350.org, on October 24, people in every corner of the planet coordinated the most widespread day of environmental action in the planet's history. At over 5,200 events, people gathered to call for strong action and bold leadership on the climate crisis. By the day's end, it was clear: people of all kinds are calling for a fair, ambitious, and binding global climate treaty.
During the week of Dec 7-18, world leaders, including President Obama, will meet in Copenhagen to craft a new global treaty on climate change. It is up to us to make sure the treaty is strong and that world leaders hear the urgency of our message.
Watch the video.
Finish the following statement: I act on behalf of the world's children because ___. Share this statement with another. If their eyes shine, meet your new MAU ally! Read more at mothersactingup.org.
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