On Mother's Day, about fifty people in brightly colored dresses, feather boas, flowery hats, and a lot of beads gathered in Overton Park for the first annual Mothers Acting Up (MAU) March for Peace.
The group, which was recently founded in part by Michele Mazzu and Kristi Duckworth and has about 17 members locally, encourages mothers to embrace their political power and use it to shape policies that affect children. The national organization, formed in Boulder, Colorado, in 2002, deals with a broad range of issues, but Mazzu and Duckworth say that right now they're focused on city budget cuts.
Flyer: Why form a local chapter of MAU?
Mazzu: I've been a member of the national organization of Mothers Acting Up for a couple of years, and I really liked the idea of reclaiming Mother's Day as a call to social action, which is its roots. It became a national holiday in 1914. That's when it became sentimental.
Besides this march, what else does the local chapter of MAU do?
Mazzu: We've only been around for a couple of months, so our goal was to do this to start with so we could gather people. Right now, they're talking about budget cuts in the City Council. We're hoping that we can motivate some people to start attending those meetings.
You had people sign a giant Mother's Day card for Mayor Willie Herenton. Why?
Duckworth: The cuts have affected the city in various ways. We're tired of it, and we wanted to do something to show him that the citizens are concerned.
Mazzu: We may just gather up our children and go knock on his door so he can see us. You have to understand that with each of us comes half a dozen children everywhere we go, so we're a mess when we go places. They won't want us there for long, I'm sure.
What about the postcards to Condoleezza Rice?
Mazzu: They're printed by the national MAU offices to bring to her attention the huge amount of tax dollars being spent on the military and how that stacks up against the amount being spent on children.
Flyer Mom: Why the costumes?
Duckworth: We're the psychedelic suffragettes, baby!
Mazzu: We're showing the whole exuberant, joyful expression of motherhood. We're taking it over the top to show the lengths we'll go to. •