Local Moms Rekindle the Radical Spirit of Mothers’ Day

Submitted by Mothers Out Front of Bedford

Mother’s Day may be known for flowers, chocolates, and breakfast in bed, but the holiday has activist origins and a group of mothers in Bedford is reclaiming these roots.

Mother’s Day dates back to 1850s West Virginia when Ann Reeves Jarvis organized Mothers’ Day work clubs to improve sanitary conditions for children. These women worked to lower infant mortality by fighting disease and curbing milk contamination. They also championed ideals of compassion, unity, and peace, tending to wounded Civil War soldiers, Confederate and Union, and holding “Friendship Day Picnics” to bring together former foes.

Mothers in Bedford are following this spirit of community action and concern for the health of children. While they may set aside a few hours to honor their own mothers, they say this is a time to unite for their children. Not only is the health of their children in danger, but the health of the earth for humans is at risk and they are committed to doing something about it.

The mission of Mothers Out Front is to build power among mothers to ensure a livable climate for all children. The organization supports volunteer-led teams in 16 Massachusetts communities, including Bedford. While its members work primarily at the local level, they also collaborate on larger goals. This year, they are advocating for a law that would require utilities to provide more renewable power to customers. “As mothers who care about our children’s health, we are deeply concerned that the conversion to renewable energy sources is not happening fast enough,” said Emily Prince, a Bedford mom.

Mothers Out Front is also working to educate the public about the health dangers of so-called ‘natural’ gas as a cooking and heating source. Gas is primarily composed of methane, a major contributor to climate change. Gas also contains chemical additives, several of which are associated with health risks. “Shifting from coal and oil to gas would harm our children’s health and fail to address the climate crisis we are facing,” Prince said.

The Bedford Mothers Out Front team is focusing locally on reducing household energy consumption, thereby creating an easier transition to renewables. They have teamed up with Revise Energy for this new campaign: “Bedford Saves Energy, One House at a Time!” The goal for the coming year is for 350 homeowners to take advantage of no-cost home energy assessments and then take actions to reduce their home’s energy consumption. This new initiative comes on the heels of the Bedford team’s successful campaign for Net Zero planning which resulted in Town Meeting approval of funding for a consultant to give Bedford a Net Zero Plan to reduce climate-change-causing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

“I am committed to doing all that I possibly can so that my children can have a livable climate,” said Renu Bostwick, co-coordinator of Mothers Out Front in Bedford. “We can no longer wait for our leaders and must act boldly so that they also will.”

To bring together mothers who work diligently to address the needs of their children and their community, the Bedford Mothers Out Front team is hosting a Tea Party on May 20 where they will celebrate the history of bold and persistent women who have brought about changes that the world needs. “We know everyone is busy, but when we work together we are stronger and we can achieve more,” said Sue Swanson, another member of the local team. Click this link to learn more about the party or to RSVP.

For more information, contact Renu Bostwick at 781-514-6488 or see www.mothersoutfront.org.

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