OFFICIAL RELEASE: CODEPINK hosts 24-hour vigil this Mother's Day across from White House

Posted by CODEPINK Staff

WASHINGTON -- This Mother's Day weekend, in an inspiring, empowering vigil to hear the voices of women living under occupation, CODEPINK Women for Peace invites all women, men and children to spend 24 hours outside the White House in a family-friendly gathering of feminine energy, sister and motherhood, a self-reflective reclamation of the original purpose behind Mother's Day: a mother's call for peace.

From 1 p.m. May 9 through 1 p.m. March 10 in D.C.'s Lafayette Park, CODEPINK and others will host a full schedule of events, including a children's fair, a "Mothers Say No to War" march around the White House, presentations from women of war-torn countries, teach-ins and workshops Saturday afternoon and a concert by independent rocker Melissa Ivey that evening. On Sunday, CODEPINK will host a powerful interfaith service, creative actions and more. Invited speakers include feminist leader Gloria Steinem, Nobel-winning Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi and retired state official Col. Ann Wright.

“We are witness to the expanding violence around the world, women’s voices are missing, yet they 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, they are not at the negotiating table. We must shed light on this and change it, beginning with this incredibly powerful vigil to honor the call of Mother's Day."

The vigil, with co-sponsors including The National Organization of Women (NOW), MADRE, and the Feminist Peace Network, will also include a radical act of knitting, or "knittivism." Women all over the country submitting knitted squares to be stitched into a banner to stretch over the White House fence that will read, "We will not raise our children to kill another mother's child." (See more events in the calendar listed below).

"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 of New York, whose son is serving in Iraq. "To speak truth to power, I'll join CODEPINK for Mother's Day to work toward a more just and peaceful planet."

All festival events are inspired by the original purpose of Mother's Day, born in 1870 out of 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.” Some events will address the affect of war and occupation on women, specifically that of women in Iraq and Afghanistan, due to U.S. war.

The event will be filmed and broadcast live by The Real News network. Many CODEPINK groups nationwide will host solidarity Mother's Day events to honor women living within occupation worldwide.

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!
All are invited to stay energized (and awake) with 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 a.m. : 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 p.m. : 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, or Jodie Evans, at 310-621-5635 or

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