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Celebrating the Power of Feminist Motherhood

  • JASS

Mothers. Appreciated but rarely recognized for their vital political, economic and social contributions to all of us. Mothers are the first-responders to crises, the social fabric menders, and an often invisible organizing force for justice. They are dedicated to the transformation of the future for the next generation every. single. day.

Join us in celebrating the power of mothers!  

We celebrate mothers of the disappeared in Mexico – they have persisted in seeking and demanding justice for their loved ones who are among the over 40,000 people who have been disappeared as a result of the “war on drugs,” while unmasking the impunity of it all.

In Zimbabwe, where political and economic crises has made life extremely difficult, women are organizing under-the-radar trading networks of basic goods to ensure that their children eat, go to school, and have some semblance of a normal life.

These are just a few examples of how many women’s identity as mothers is a powerful force behind their organizing for the rights of us all.

This #MothersDay, we are honoring the courage and ingenuity of mothers around the world who are standing up, speaking out, and challenging injustice, starting with the feminist moms in our network! Some have deep roots in liberation struggles, others are part of organizing efforts we support and accompany, while many have created very untraditional families giving new life to the meaning of family.

Today we celebrate them all. We interviewed our staff and friends to find out how motherhood has affected or changed their activism. We were so inspired we had to share it with you!  

From the beginning, I made it clear that my identity as a mother and activist were not separate. My first boy was introduced to activism as soon as he was born. At the age of 5, I overheard him confiding in a friend that his mother is a feminist. The friend had no clue what he was talking about so he responded, “Don’t you know women who support other women? They are called feminists.” My second boy went through a similar journey. Motherhood enhanced my activism. I was not about to raise children who don’t understand our struggle. Never. Hope Chigudu, JASS Co-founder and Advisor

There are two sides to this story. On the one hand, going to work and leaving the kids, especially when they were little, was very hard for me. I felt bad even though their father took care of them. On the other hand, being a mother actually gave meaning to the struggles I was fighting for. It motivated me to continue fighting for a better world for them and humanity. Patricia Ardón, JASS Mesoamerica

Motherhood has fueled my activism and given me this mojo to actually work to ensure that this world becomes a better place for my son. A world where he knows women must be respected, where he has access to basic needs such as water, where it’s okay for him to cry – the list is endless. But motherhood has also made me confront power differently by assessing risk much more. Before I had my son, there were risks I was willing to take, but not anymore.  Winnet Shamuyarira, JASS Southern Africa

Being a mother has made me rethink the way I live and understand feminism and the transformative power of placing people’s care at the center of social life. I have confronted the stereotypes and discrimination that women experience when we are mothers, have abortions, or decide not to have children. Being the mother of a son is an opportunity as well as a great challenge in a world where we are far from achieving equality.  Marusia López Cruz, JASS Crossregional

One of my favorite things about parenting is sharing my activism with my kids. My first baby was 1 week old when she attended her first political meeting. I have not always managed to include them in my work since then, but we are always in conversation about it. This provides a counter balance to the conservative messaging around them. It’s the best feeling ever when your child shares back their anti-racist/sexist/homophobic analysis. Now I am learning from them too. Anna Davies-van Es, JASS Cross-regional

Motherhood has made more strategic about my activism to make sure that my kids and I are safe. Raising my sons to be feminist has sharpened my own commitment and passion to build a better future for my kids and other generations. Kunthea Chan, JASS Southeast Asia

Motherhood has made me even more committed to building a better and more equal world for women and men. Having my son grounded me, and I raised him with feminist values. Motherhood has been both a wonderful experience and a huge responsibility. Balancing professional and personal time has not always been an easy task because we want to be “superwoman” as mothers, activists, professionals, partners, but I’d do it all again! Carme Clavel Arcos, JASS Mesoamerica

In the first months of motherhood, I didn’t want to know what was happening in the world so l completely disconnected from the news to protect the experience from anything negative. But now, being a parent has given me a clearer and more hopeful perspective on the future we are fighting for and what my roles and responsibilities are in that – from raising a bold and badass daughter and a feminist son (arriving soon), to being more actively involved in my community, to my work globally for equality and justice as part of JASS. Carrie Wilson, JASS Crossregional

Motherhood has made me understand that all fights must aim for happiness and that journey of raising a life in freedom is not a priority even within our movements. And that we need to talk more about caring and join that journey to reclaim the power within motherhood. Daysi Flores, JASS Mesoamerica

Motherhood deepens my resolve to contribute meaningfully in rebuilding our social fabric rooted in care, justice, diversity, and safety so my children’s generation can live their lives knowing in their hearts that our beautiful home planet is worth fighting for. Zeph Repollo, JASS Southeast Asia

The journey alongside my son over the last 22 years has been one of the most profound sources of consciousness in my life and politics. In his first 6 years, I took him to so many places and workshops, he would mix the country names into a blend. My travel and work demands were never easy for him (or me), but he’s grown to be a proud feminist in his own right – troubled by the fact that many young women aren’t (not just men) able to claim that. “I love that you’re a feminist activist,” he said to me when he was 16. Walking alongside him all these years, a young black man coming into adulthood, he’s taught me more about racism, blatant and unrecognized, and white privilege than I ever would have known.  Lisa VeneKlasen, JASS Co-founder and Executive Director

Photo Credit: Upside Down World

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