Women nationwide to join inspiring 24-hour peace vigil this Mother's Day in DC

April 17th, 2009

Jodie Evans, CODEPINK co-founder, 310-621-5635
Nancy Mancias, CODEPINK event coordinator, 415-342-6409
Jean Stevens, CODEPINK national media coordinator, 508-769-2138

Women nationwide to join inspiring 24-hour peace vigil this Mother's Day in DC
Will honor mothers living under occupation with speakers, workshops, children's fair

WHAT: CODEPINK to host 24 hours of Mother's Day workshops, entertainment and actions for women and children
WHEN: 1 p.m. to 1 p.m. May 9 to May 10
WHERE: Lafayette Park (1608 H Street NW), Washington, D.C. (across the street from White House)

WASHINGTON -- From Toronto, Tuscon, Schenectady, NY and dozens more cities and towns around the world, mothers, veterans, nurses, students, lawyers and businesswomen will flock this Mother's Day weekend to Lafayette Park here for a 24-hour vigil  to honor women living under occupation worldwide, hosted by CODEPINK and co-sponsored by the National Organization of Women, MADRE, the Feminist Peace Network and nearly 34 other human rights organizations.

The women and their families, who from 1 p.m. May 9 to 1 p.m. May 10 will participate in workshops, a children's fair, discussions with women who've lived in war-torn countries, a colorful march around the White House and a radical act of knitting using 6,000 squares knitted by women worldwide (read more about that here) will reflect on the original purpose of Mother's Day, a Civil War plea to mothers to peace.

"I truly believe women, organized and mobilized, can be a formidable, powerful force in the movement toward a world free of war," said Cynthia Benjamin, a nurse from rural New York whose son is currently serving in Iraq. "To speak truth to power, I will join CODEPINK for Mother's Day to work toward a more just and peaceful planet."

Saturday's events will also include a concert by independent rocker Melissa Ivey, and on Sunday, CODEPINK will host a powerful interfaith service, creative actions and more. All events are inspired by abolitionist Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Peace Proclamation. Howe, horrified by the devastation of the Civil War and the death of America's men, wrote the Proclamation to call on America's women to gather together to "promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”

“In war, women pay the biggest prices," said Jodie Evans, CODEPINK co-founder. "They lose their children, their home, their family, are abused and left to put it all back together. Still they are not in the decision-making process, they are not at the negotiating table. We need to shed light on this fact and change it, beginning with this incredibly powerful vigil in honor of the original call to Mother's Day."

Many CODEPINK groups across America will host solidarity Mother's Day events to honor women living within occupation worldwide. To find an event, please visit the CODEPINK action calendar here.

24-hour vigil schedule (tentative, more details to come)

Saturday, May 9
1 to 2:30 pm: Event Kick-off and Scavenger Hunt!

2:30  to 5 pm : Quilting Bee/Radical Knitting, Singing and Circling the White House in Pink
We'll bind knitted squares, knitted by women across the country, to form a quilt with the message “We will not raise our children to kill another mother's child" to string on the White House fence. Then we'll circle the White House in a children's march for peace!

5 to 6:30 p.m. : Learning Circles and Story-telling
Women are invited to participate in teach-ins that will educate and inspire us to create the world we want to live in. Meanwhile, kids can enjoy story-telling sessions.

7:30 pm to 10 pm : "Women's Voices From War Zones" and Singer-Songwriter Melissa Ivey
Afghan, Iraqi and Pakistani women will share their perspective as women living under occupation and offer ideas for change. Indie singer-songrwriter Melissa Ivey will then take the stage to rev up the crowd.

Sunday, May 10
2  to 4 a.m. – Activist Training Workshops and Hula-Hooping with co-founder Medea Benjamin
Guests will learn valuable skills for creative protest, media outreach, local group coordinating, strategizing to end war, and more. Renowned clown Patch Adams will lead “What is your love strategy?” and co-founder Medea Benjamin will host a hula-hooping session.

4 to 7 a.m. : Pink Pajama Party!
Join in the fun! We'll have a pink scavenger hunt, hula-hooping, yoga, singing, and more!

7 a.m. to 8 a.m. : Walter Reed Peace Delegation flower delivery
A delegation of women will deliver hundreds of roses to mothers at Walter Reed Hospital visiting their children, demonstrating their support. 

9  to 10 a.m. : Interfaith Service
To honor all the mothers that have been victimized by the war in Iraq, we will sing, chant, dance and listen to women from Goddess, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Unitarian traditions.

10  to 11:30 am : Children Peace Wishes
Little Friends for Peace, a non-profit peace education program for children, will lead the children in sharing their wishes for peace.

12:30 to 1 pm : Closing Ceremony of Roses to the White House
All participants will deliver roses to the White House.

For more information, please call Jean Stevens, national media coordinator, at 508-769-2138 or email at jean@codepinkalert.org, or Jodie Evans, at 310-621-5635 or Jodie@codepinkalert.org.