Family advocacy organization Forward Together uses its annual Mamas Day initiative to celebrate mothers from marginalized communities who are often excluded from traditional Mother’s Day celebrations. The project returns for an eighth year with the theme, “Black Mamas and Their Right to Parent.”
Per a statement, the organization partnered with five Black artists—Loveis Wise, Jamilla Okubo, Iman Geddy, Amir Khadar and Francis Mead—to develop e-cards around various definitions of Black motherhood. Several of the artists said that they drew inspiration from their own mothers, as well as the oppressive contexts in which these women had to build communities for their families.
“I never understood how my mother was able to raise my brothers and me as a single mother in a new country,” Geddy said of her mother, who came to the United States from Somalia. “She’d lost her community when she left home and that meant she no longer had that support system that was built into her culture. As a child, watching her struggle made me determined to find my community here in my new home and forge my own extended family that expanded heteronormative notions of kinship. Mamas Day allowed me to pay homage to not just my mother who in her own way taught me about the importance of community, but to other trailblazer mamas and movement mamas who nurtured me and guided me along my journey.”
This year’s initiative, like previous years, also features a community action component. Forward Together teamed up with reproductive justice organizations Black Mamas Matter Alliance, National Network of Abortion Funds, SisterSong and Southern Birth Justice Network to uplift their overlapping goals through the Black Mamas Revival pledge. The pledge asks signees to commit to interrupting the ways White supremacy attacks Black mothers.
“We know this presidency’s increased targeting of Black mamas is rooted in long-standing White supremacy, anti-Black racism, misogyny and transmisogyny,” Diana Lugo-Martinez, Forward Together’s movement building director, said in the statement. “Our Mamas Day campaign presents an opportunity to be in solidarity with partners who are committed to the struggle of Black liberation. From reproductive justice to economic justice, we pledge to leverage our tools, resources and networks to continue to challenge the narrative around mamahood and show up for and support Black mamas’ right to parent.”