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The real Mother's Day

Kathy Sesto — May 1983

Julia Ward Howe made the first known suggestion to designate a day as Mother’s Day in 1872.

She suggested that people observe June 2nd as a day dedicated to peace. For several years she held annual Mother’s Day meetings in Boston. This date was eventually changed to the second Sunday in May. The meaning has also changed. Mother’s Day has unfortunately become increasingly commercialized. However, this year Canadian women will attempt to return to the original purpose of this important day.

Mothers and grandmothers in North America are writing to Mrs. Reagan and Mrs. Gromyko, asking them to use their influence on their husbands to seriously negotiate arms reductions for the sake of the world’s children. Attach or endorse photos of your children or grandchildren, and address correspondence as follows: Mrs. Andrei Gromyko, The Kremlin, Moscow, USSR. Mrs. Nancy Reagan, The White House, Washington DC, 20205 USA. North Bay Peace Committee is holding a Mother’s Day Walk for Peace from Lee Park to the office of J.J. Blais, MP; and Lindsay District Women for Peace are marching from McDonnell Park West to the War Memorial in Lindsay.

A Women’s March for Peace will take place on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 8th, in Ottawa at Major’s Hill Park. Women and girls will march to the Parliament buildings and encircle them. Pauline Jewett, Margaret Hancock and Laurette Chretien-Sloane will address the demonstrators.

Voice of Women, a national peace organisation for women, has chartered a bus to take Toronto women to Ottawa for this demonstration. The bus leaves from the Friends’ Meeting House, 60 Lowther Ave., at 7 am on May 8th, and returns that night at 9 pm. Round trip tickets (at $27.00) are available at the Voice of Women office, 175 Carlton St. telephone: xxx-xxxx)

“Mother’s Day is a good opportunity to speak to people on nuclear disarmament”’ says Dorothy Smieciuch, VOW national coordinator, “Some people won’t take a pamphlet on nuclear disarmament, but when we link it to Mother’s Day they are interested.”

Helen Caldicott, in the award-winning documentary film “If You Love This Planet”, says it is the women who are the first to cry when she speaks to groups. Caldicott says this is because they are child-bearers and have a very strong desire to see the earth preserved for children and grandchildren. Smieciuch agrees, saying that many women join VOW because they feel they must do something to preserve life for their children.

Smieciuch also points out that many Canadian women have been inspired to work for peace by the women of the Greenham Common peace camp In England. The peace camp was established in September 1981, at the main gate of the Royal Air Force Base, Greenham Common. This World War II base, 80 kilometres west of London, is being developed by the United States to receive 96 of the 160 cruise missiles to be deployed in Britain. Last December 12, an estimated 30,000 women joined hands in a human chain that encircled the base’s 9 mile perimeter. The peace camp is all female and is open to any woman who is sympathetic to the peace cause.

Support women’s efforts towards peace. Participate in the Mother’s Day Women’s March for Peace.