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(en) US, NYC, MAMA is a grassroots collective of radical mothers and kids.

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 31 Mar 2004 23:38:58 +0200 (CEST)

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MAMA's members include working-for-pay mamas, stay at home mamas, mamas of color, poor
mamas, mamas looking for work, former teen mamas, mamas that have used
government assistance, mamas who unschool, mamas whose kids are in public
school, single mamas, queer women, partnered mamas, and girls and women who
aren't mamas. We are lesbian/bi/trans loving and inclusive and are open to
all women regardless of age, race, income, non-income or parental status.

MAMA believes that every mother is a working mother and we are committed to
making our society one in which mothers and children
have a wide range of choices and the freedom and power to make them through
sustainable organizing, mutual aid and the collective resistance of
oppression. MAMA is anti-authoritarian; we have no leaders and make
decisions collectively through the consensus process.

We work with the understanding that we live in a society where children and
their caregivers are systematically devalued, marginalized, and isolated and
that mothers, especially single mothers, are at high risk for poverty. To
liberate families, we understand that our ultimate, long-term goal is not to
reform the system but to end imperialism, capitalism and all forms of
oppression. While we understand that sometimes our struggle will lead us to
confront the system, we are interested in creating self-supporting networks
outside the system for ourselves and the community at large.

MAMA works toward creating a child-inclusive culture within the social
justice community and beyond and towards increasing free, public
family-friendly space. We share resources and organize events in the
interest of building a more autonomous, self-determined and sustainable
community. The mothers involved are both actively challenging and changing
pre-existing conditions! and are the ones affected by these conditions.

From: m*a*m*a <mamariseup-A-yahoo.com>
From their web page at: http://mama-nyc.org/

M*A*M*A* History and Goals

MA*M*A* held our first meeting one year ago, in the beginning of
June in Central Park. The impetus to create MAMA was an effort by
several local moms to organize a Mothers Day m*arch in 2002. The
purpose of the march was to re-politicize Mothers Day, and to raise
awareness of the real-life difficulties of low-income women on a day
when lip service to the ideals of motherhood reaches a fever pitch.
During and after Mothers Day, it was decided that there was significant
interest in addressing these concerns on a long-term basis, and the first
meeting of MAMA was called, which took place on June 11.
Attendance was far higher than expected: moms, their partners and kids
came to share their concerns. We came together as mostly strangers but
all had a history of working for social justice.

Issues that were a starting point for us included the absence of
affordable, safe childcare, the absence of paid maternity leave, the
extreme difficulty of continuing our work as activists while parenting,
the general cost of having children in NYC, the need to overcome
isolation and alienation which, both of which proliferate in mothers of
young children, and the need to establish a community of fellow
revolutionary mothers politically on the same page. From the beginning,
we committed to decision making through the consensus process and to
maintaining a horizontal structure. After much discussion, it was
decided that we be a womens only group in order to give ourselves a
much-needed woman-only space, and that occasional meetings/events
be open to all.

Some of our activites:

We put out a call and assembled a group of more than 20 parents,
children and friends to march in the February 15 World Says No to War
event, which MAMA also endorsed as a group. We walked with a
banner ("MAMA SEZ NO WAR!") that was created by mamas and
children both, as well as other homemade props. We also participated in
many other anti-war events and vigils and marched on the 22nd of
March at another mass mobilization.

Vikki a founding member, compiled a zine of writings of women against
the war and published it in April 2003. The writings are from activist
moms around the country, but most of the MAMA members
contributed as well. On the lighter (but still serious) side, we were
instrumental, in conjunction with the Easterbunny Liberation
Organization, in instigating nation-wide protests, complete with bunny
props, in response to Kmart and other nationwide chains sale of
military-themed Easter baskets for children containing toy soldiers and

Our most ambitious project to date was the organization of Mamas
Rising Up, a celebration of resistance and solidarity in honor of Mothers
Day. Our vision for the event was anti-war, but with a dual focus: to
connect local concerns with protest of our governments foreign policy,
in other words, to point out connections between the war abroad and
the war at home and to show solidarity with women oppressed and
endangered by our governments actions, both within and outside of our
borders. To us, anti-war as a concept means broadening our focus to
not only include the Iraq war and occupation, but local issues as well.
The large-scale event was held in Central Park and included live music,
many speakers and entertainers, a mother/baby rap duo, and activities
and crafts for children. Mamas Rising Up was mounted in an intense
six weeks, during which we applied for and received permits from the
park, publicized our efforts to various groups and invited others to share
their vision and attend planning meetings. We also decided to make our
planning meetings for the event open to men to be as inclusive as

For Mamas Rising Up, we also made our first fundraising efforts. We
held a Kids Party at the 6B community garden in the Lower East Side,
complete with radical cheerleading, storytelling, face-painting and

Upcoming projects and Goals:

-We will be compiling a free/low cost resource guide/creative zine for
low income and no income families in NYC's 5 boroughs. The guide
will be in print, with an online version and it will be available in
translation as possibilities become available. The guide will list and
describe survival resources in many categories: food, clothing, shelter,
health care and legal aid, leisure with an emphasis on independent and
alternative resources. We will seek funds for printing and distribution.
Concurrent with this project we will make connections with community
spaces where this could be distributed, throughout the city, along with
other items such as books, toys and clothing.

-Acquisition of community space for that is child-friendly for meetings,
outreach, childcare swaps, workshops for mothers, skillsharing, library
with resources for mothers and children.

-To have monthly community Unschool events, starting this summer,
which consist of skill-sharing for children and information sharing and
workshops for adults on things pertinent to our lives and interests. The
events will be held in community gardens while weather permits and
beyond that, in a space or spaces to be arranged.

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