Arise then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
whether your baptism be that of water - or of tears!
Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking with carnage,
for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us
to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of
charity, mercy, and patience.
We women of one country will be too tender of those of
another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of the devastated earth
a voice goes up with our own. It says,
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!"
Blood does not wipe out dishonor
nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil
at the summons of war,
let women now leave all that may be left of home
for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other
as to the means whereby the great human family
can live in peace, each learning after own time
the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity,
I earnestly ask that a general congress of women
without limit of nationality
may be appointed and held at some place
deemed most convenient
to promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
the amicable settlement of international questions,
the great and general interests of peace.
A note from Mary Ceallaigh:
Few people know it, but the origin of the now commercialized one-day-a-year "Mother's
Day" was actually in a political act: a historic call to all mothers for a day of mourning war,
gathering for mutual counsel, and rallying a united voice for disarmament and the end of
war, put forth by early feminist and suffragist Julia Ward Howe.
Today's "Mother's Day" business is a huge distraction from the issue of the true
empowerment of mothers, and is a far cry from the fierce-mother consciousness and
women's action rallied for in the following Proclamation. Truly, if American
women-as-mothers reclaimed our innate empowerment as put forth in this Proclamation, and
as honored by all spiritual traditions, the end of war would be a REALITY.
As to why this hasn't happened yet, ask yourself - "What really matters?" "What have I been
doing to honor my heart and speak my true voice?" "How have I been uniting with other
mothers in my grief and outrage at war and violence?" "Have I made the choice to awaken
my husband, brothers, sons, to the futility of war and to the unacceptability of violence?"
"Am I willing to risk everything for what I know in my heart is true?" "Can I truly live
addiction-free if I don't honor the power of my grace, strength, and true voice as a woman?"
Also, taking a step back from today's "Mother's Day," it seems a very silly idea to "honor"
one's mother only one day a year, and for women to accept only one day a year in turn -
satisfied with some extra attention, money spent, and some cut flowers, while the war
between the haves and the have-nots escalates daily and women exploit themselves and are
exploited daily in a myriad of ways.
Please educate yourself and your loved ones on this Proclamation, straight from the heart of
our magnificent foremother, Julia Ward Howe.
|Julia Ward Howe
Born at home, May 27, 1819 NY, NY
|PROCLAMATION OF MOTHER'S DAY