Walls of Moms

Did you hear about the Wall of Moms in Portland, Oregon? These middle-aged ladies in yellow t-shirts and bike helmets made national news when they formed a human barrier to help protect peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters from armed federal agents. The images of these women, sometimes accompanied by “dads” with leaf blowers to help disperse tear gas, were powerful for many reasons, one of which was the disturbing incongruity of seeing women you’d more likely associate with school bake sales or church socials in a semi-military confrontation. Yet there they were, at the heart of the resistance. 

The word “resistance” makes me think of a beret-wearing French freedom fighter with a Gauloise dangling from his lips. Definitely not me. But it is moms who have become a driving force behind the resistance to Trump and the Republican agenda. And while the word resistance might sound radical, it is simply shorthand for the fight for values like tolerance, compassion, empathy, decency, and human dignity that form the bedrock of what actually makes America great. An army of moms has arisen, and they are powering an entire movement.

My personal journey reflects this. I’m a mother of three, and as with every mother, my kids make my heart swell with love and pride. Being their mother has transformed me in countless ways and has helped crystallize for me what’s most important in life. I once read an article about how pregnancy changes the chemistry in a mother’s brain and I can say firsthand that it’s true. The first time I noticed this phenomenon was shortly after my eldest child was born. I was suffused with love for this tiny creature. Walking down the streets of New York City, I remember suddenly looking at people differently. I was astonished to find myself filled with tenderness for random strangers, even the ones whom I may have previously found less than adorable. But now all I saw were people who were once adorable babies like mine the way their own mothers must have once looked at them. 

Fast forward to 2016, and the sense of responsibility to my children made me realize that I had to do something in the wake of Trump’s election. Being a mom made me an activist because I wasn’t just worried about myself, I was worried about my kids and everyone else’s kids and even the random people on the street and the world that we are leaving to all of them. 

This experience is not unique to me. So many of the women I have spoken to at New Faces of Democracy are similarly motivated and inspired by their children. Susan Rogan of the eponymous political action newsletter is a mother of 12. Alex Posen of Resistance by Design is motivated by her daughter as she designs activist fashion that supports women leaders. Designer Pamela Bell is similarly inspired by her kids and the issues they care about often lead to the creation of new designs at Prinkshop. The indefatigable women who write Postcards to Voters use the organizational skills they honed in the PTA to register voters, support candidates, start giving circles, and of course get out the vote. Diana Weymar of Tiny Pricks is a mother of four and fundraiser Stacy Kramer is a mother of three. Margie Stein of 140 Florida Blue Project and Lisa Herrick of 31st Street Swing Left, all moms too. While their activism takes different forms, these women have all taken their outrage and channeled it into action for the sake of and love for not just their children, but ALL our children.

So watch out world. It’s time to say goodbye to the 1950’s stereotype of the meek housewife/mother who doesn't rock the boat. The moms are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore. Don’t mess with the walls of moms.

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