On Saturday, Nashville's Peace Coalition-- of which I was a founding member back when I was single & childless and available for meetings every day of the week-- held a peace rally, march and a Walk In Their Shoes event. Folks gathered at Owen Bradley Park by the Demonbreun Roundabout and the Musica statue for speakers and music.
As it was also St. Patrick's Day, and an Irish bar is on the other side of the Roundabout, the Demonbreun strip and its attendant unauthorized parking area on a muddy stretch of land nearby was an odd mix of Raging Grannies, Green party members, Code Pink folks, Vandy fraternity boys, round bellied Paddies in their cups and once wholesome girls next door with their knee socks and skirts so short their heinies popped out.
It was a sad and somber event juxtaposed with party revelery, and then, too: a celebration of life, and of peace, and of colorful street theatre & activism. A core part of our Mothers Acting Up community made its presence known with our babies and children, and on the march to the Federal Building, Kate and I spoke with wonder and deep emotion, in recognition of our own anniversary. We'd met exactly one year previous, at this very rally and march. It was in front of the Hippodrome building that Kate told me about having read MAU co-founder Beth Osnes' chapter in Code Pink's Stop the Next War Now, and how these Mothers Acting Up, of whom I was not aware, encouraged communities to hold Mother's Day reclamation parades and other events, and to serve free cake to all. We formed a bond that day, we straggling mama marchers with our small children in tow; all Mickey Rooney / Judy Garland, we got swept up in "Let's make a parade!"
So on Saturday, as we marched, this time with mamas and daddies and children from the MAU community we've co-created here, we were stunned at how much changes in a short year's time and moved by how much we value the changes. We pulled off Nashville's First Mother's Day Peace Parade last year, and we're hip deep into the planning of this year's. Our children are bigger and more greatly aware of their surroundings-- they know one another and are tender and kind in play. We have a real community of families here who Act Up together and gather regularly for weekly playgroups, monthly potluck socials and salons. We've participated in actions like Chalk for Peace and Stand Up Against Poverty. And I make my living now doing outreach and organizational work with an AMAZING team of women as a Mother Acting Up, supporting a network of mothers from New York City to Charleston, to Minneapolis-St. Paul to Austin and Los Angeles in building their own communities and hosting their own Mother's Day reclamation parades, tea parties and cake walks.
In the face of world unrest, we have created for ourselves and each other, a safe place to call home. We take what we do beyond our four walls, to honor the promise of our children's lives as part of a magnificent revolution. I am so very very honored and grateful to join with Kate and these other families near and far in doing good work, in becoming engaged with the world we find and visioning it as we want it to be on behalf of our children and those everywhere as part of the great human family.