I can’t get Kendrick’s face out of my mind. He looks like such a sweet kid who could be anyone’s kid or grandkid. I am angry at myself for giving in to such thoughts as, “I just don’t know what to do.” I am angry at myself that all I’m doing is applauding the kids who are doing what they can to protest gun violence, even if it’s just walking out of school while I am doing… nothing.
And then I read Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation which I read every year the week before Mother’s Day. Julia is a distant relation. She was a woman of faith and a social activist who called the women of her day to stand together and speak out against war as a means to achieve peace.
As I read her Proclamation, I can hear her speak today. She would be calling all women, mothers and daughters, to stand together with courage to take on the NRA and any political leader who obstructs the path to strict regulations of gun ownership. She would have no tolerance for all the political rhetoric that has amounted to little to nothing.
I invite you to read Julia’s proclamation, imagining the year 2019. What are your thoughts? What can we do before there’s another mom grieving the loss of her child?
In our Master’s love,
The First Mother's Day Proclamation – 1870 – Julia Ward Howe
Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will 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, the 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 voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough 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 solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And 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.