Inspiring 24-hour Mother's Day festival this weekend in Lafayette Park

May 6th, 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

 Inspiring 24-hour Mother's Day festival this weekend in Lafayette Park
Will honor mothers worldwide with children's fair, speakers, workshops, entertainment

WHAT:  24-hour Mother's Day festival and vigil; 100+ women from around country and DC to attend
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 -- To honor women worldwide living under occupation this Mother's Day weekend, more than one hundred mothers and their children from Seattle to Chicago to Bethesda will crowd into Lafayette Park for 24 uplifting, inspiring hours of games, workshops, speakers, live entertainment, food and more.

Through a full schedule of free activities from 1 p.m. Saturday to 1 p.m. Sunday, hosted by the women's peace group CODEPINK, guests will reflect on how women are uniquely affected by war, their major role in diplomacy and policy-making, and how women's movements worldwide have offered new paradigms for social change. (View the full schedule here). From 2:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, they will join in an incredible act of "knittivism" -- stitching together into a banner about 5,000 squares knitted and shipped to D.C. from women worldwide to drape across the White House fence. (Read more about this much-blogged about event here).

"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. "So this Mother's Day, I'll be in Lafayette Park in D.C. to work toward a truly just and peaceful future."

The event is co-sponsored by the National Organization of Women, MADRE, the Feminist Peace Network and 34 other human rights organizations. CODEPINK's plans were inspired by the original purpose of Mother's Day, a Civil War plea by American abolitionist Julia Ward Howe for mothers to tell their sons to lay down their arms and create "the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”

Inspiring leaders from several international women's organizations including Rosha Hebsur of People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) and Simin Royanian, co-founder of Women for Peace and Justice in Iran will also attend the vigil and speak in a round table discussion Friday evening at CODEPINK's "Voices of Peace: In Conversation With Women In Conflict" (view more information here). Saturday's events also include a concert by independent rocker Melissa Ivey, and Sunday's a powerful interfaith service, creative actions and more.

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.

For more information, please contact Jean Stevens, media coordinator, at 508-769-2138 or Jodie Evans, CODEPINK co-founder, at 310-621-5635.