Mother’s Day for Peace

War kills. Mostly it kills innocent people – women, children, the elderly and other non-combatants. War destroys. War destroys nations, economies, and the environment.

War does not resolve conflicts. It exacerbates social and political problems. War is a choice and it is always a bad choice,

War is failure. Wars result from the failure of national leaders to find peaceful solutions to conflicts.

The war in Ukraine is a senseless tragedy. This war could have been prevented.  If the politicians had been willing to compromise, the diplomats more aggressive in seeking solutions, or the merchants of death been less greedy, the death and destruction could have been avoided.

More alarming, the war in Ukraine needlessly threatens the whole world and literally life on this planet. It is a bigger war than Russian invading Ukraine. It is a proxy war between two nuclear armed superpowers which could easily escalate into a broader conflict. Ukrainians are only the pawns in a geopolitical power struggle.

Mother’s Day has its roots in the struggles for peace and justice. It rose out of the abolition movement and the reaction to the destruction of the Civil War. Two women, Ann Reeves Jarvis and Julia Ward Howe were abolitionists and peace activists. Our current Mother’s Day holiday came about because Anna Jarvis, the daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis, wanted to honor the charitable works of her mother.

In 1870 Julia Ward Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace.  This message is still relevant and needed today.

Mother’s Day Proclamation

Julie Ward Howe

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 irrelevant agencies, 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, “Disarm, disarm! The sword 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 his 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 and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Today Grandmothers for Peace and many other women’s groups continue the same struggle for sanity and a more peaceful world.

Code Pink: Women for Peace is a modern day answer to Julia Ward Howe’s call for women to unite to work for peace. They are taking action to oppose the latest atrocity, the war in Ukraine. They have an online petition calling for a negotiated settlement in Ukraine.

Negotiate for peace in Ukraine!

“The U.S., which played a major role in exacerbating the conflict that led up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, must now play a major role in the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia to achieve a ceasefire. Add your name to the following letter to President Biden and Congress asking for the U.S. to support and commit to necessary compromises such as recognizing Ukraine as a neutral country and not expanding NATO any further eastward.”

Sign the petition at

Today “all women who have hearts” must come together “to bewail and commemorate the dead [and] take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace.“