Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there! While Mother’s Day is an opportunity to show our gratitude for the kindness and care shown by mothers, it isn’t just about biological mothers. We all have friends, relatives, neighbors and coworkers that offer the kindness of a mother. Reeling from her experiences during the Civil War, Julia Ward Howe wrote her Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870 – just as the Founders of Kappa Kappa Gamma were planting the acorn from which the mighty oak of our great Fraternity would spring forth. Already famous for her poem that would become the Battle Hymn of the Republic, Howe’s next cause was to mobilize women to stand up for peace and oppose war in all of its forms. Jone Johnson Lewis writes that Julia Ward Howe “issued a declaration, hoping to gather together women in a congress of action.” Recognizing the shared sacrifice of mothers who would suffer the death or injury of their children in war, Howe’s declaration called for a Mother’s Day of Peace.
Mother’s Day Proclamation – 1870
by Julia Ward Howe
Arise then ... women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace ...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
In 1884,Julia Ward Howe accepted the invitation of the Phi Chapter at Boston Universityto become an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Gamma.