Four Mothers’ Grief

Recently, the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown sat down with Anderson Cooper on Anderson Cooper 360.

art courtesy chicago art dept. creative commons
art courtesy chicago art dept. creative commons

Three poignant clips, found here on Vibe, show the mothers sitting together for the first time since the deaths of their sons at the hands of three white policemen (and one white neighborhood watchperson).   As reported here by CNN, the mothers asserted that had their sons been white, they would still be alive today. When Anderson Cooper cites poll results suggesting that most Americans are not of the mindset that the killings have been racially charged, the women argue that white people do not have to think about this issue in their lives. Marx raised a similar point in relation to labor division. The “have-nots” will always be more conscious of the “haves’” access to wealth, but this is not as apparent to the “haves”. In essence, privilege is more visible to those who do not benefit from it.

The mothers’ tones unwavering despite their grief, their messages were not those of anger. They challenged the perception reflected in the polls, saying that the protests, rallies, and marches that have sprung up in cities across the US have been comprised of people of all races, showing that this is not just the African American community’s issue; it is a human rights issue.

By Jenny Nigro – M.O.M. online intern

The Global Motherhood Report Card

Each year, the NGO Save the Children publishes their annual “State of the World’s Mothers Report.” This report ranks countries on their support for motherhood, in essence, offering a sort of “where the best places to be a mother are” list. The rankings are derived from a composite score, evaluating countries in the five categories of: maternal health, children’s well-being, educational status, economic status, and political status. You may access the full report here.

Sadly, the most inhospitable regions for mothers and children are countries plagued by armed conflict and deep poverty. In the Democratic Republic of Congo where six million lives have been claimed to the ongoing civil war, the findings from the report note that it is safer to be in combat than to be a mother or child. It is not only the senseless acts of violence that have contributed to this shocking death toll, but also the incidence of malnutrition and disease. Political displacement in conflict regions, risk of physical/sexual violence, poverty, and natural disaster all limit women’s access to maternal care.

A worthy topic to distribute to the public, this year’s report caught the eye of ABC and Jezebel. Both news sources commented on the United States’ notable drop in the rankings, from number 6 in the world in 2006 to number 31 in 2014. As the world’s wealthiest country, how is it that we have come to fall short of making the top thirty? The report explains that while we are doing well in terms of economic and educational status (of which we are ranked 8th and 14th in the world, respectively), we are lagging in other aspects. When it comes to maternal health, the US ranks 46th in the world. This figure reflects the reality that American women face a 1 in 2400 risk of maternal death, and American children under 5 face a mortality rate of 7.1 per every 1000 live births, which is roughly the same in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Qatar, and Uruguay. For children’s well-being we occupy 40th place. Most disappointingly, when it comes to political status, we are at a dismal 96th place.

In light of recent changes to our healthcare system, we would expect our maternal health status to read differently. The Save the Children report points to devastating natural disasters that have hindered victims’ receipt of comprehensive healthcare. Still recent in our nation’s collective history, Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy had disproportionately aversive effects on access to care among pregnant/parent women and children. Though not mentioned in the article, another threat to women’s maternal health could possibly be the rise in the number of cases of severe pre-eclampsia, which pose risks to the health of mothers and fetuses.

Though the contributing factors are debatable, the numbers show that there is work to be done globally to improve women and children’s health worldwide. The Millenium Development Goals put out by the UN established markers that countries should strive to meet in these areas, but maintenance and support from governing bodies are needed to ensure that mothers have the ability to provide basic care for their children – around the world.

THANK YOU for You Submissions! MOM Conference 2015

MamaExpoHeader9th Annual MOM Conference
– Museum of Motherhood Call for Papers –
“New Maternalisms”: Tales of Motherwork (Dislodging the Unthinkable)

– CFP Deadline Extended to January 15th –

April 30th, May 1st-2nd, NYC 2015

The purpose of this conference focuses on “new maternalisms” and explores “motherwork” and the invisible labor of caregiving in our everyday lived experiences. How do mothers, fathers, and caretakers experience “motherwork” what does it mean? How does “motherwork” impact the communities in which we live and work?

Here are examples of possible topics, but are not limited to:

What caregiving practices are pursued in “motherwork”? How have these practices been shaped by factors such as nation, religion, gender, and other axes of difference? How do caregivers frame/understand their “motherwork”? What alliances do caregivers build locally, regionally, and internationally, and why? To what extent does caregiving intersect with other forms of activism/resistance?

How have wo/men’s identities as caregivers been disrupted or shaped by binaries, such as east/west, north/south? Whose agency is privileged or obscured within “motherwork”? How do global discourses shape local “motherwork,” and, how, in turn, do local issues and frames shape global discourses around “motherwork”? This Call For Papers signals the important sociological and anthropological shifts taking place in the field of motherhood as it relates to wo/men – mothers, father, and caretakers.

We welcome submissions from scholars, students, activists, artists, community agencies, service providers, journalists, mothers and others who work or research in this area. Cross-cultural, historical, and comparative work is encouraged. We also encourage a variety of types of submissions including individual academic papers from all disciplines, proposals for panels, creative submissions, performances, storytelling, visual arts, film, music, audio, and other alternative formats.

Submissions must include a title and a maximum 50-100 word abstract for individual papers, panels, and other submission types (e.g. performance, media, music). Panel submissions must include short abstracts (50-100 word) for each individual paper that will be included in the panel.

All submissions will be peer reviewed with responses by Feb. 2nd. The conference will be held in NYC at the CUNY Graduate Center and Manhattan College. [LINK] to Submit.

Serving the Community & Educating People – YEAR END DONATIONS

Partners_BadgeThe Museum of Motherhood is supported by its founding non-profit 501c3 Motherhood Foundation Inc; serving the community and educating people since 2005 with programming, classes, events, and exhibits. Please support M.O.M. and help us establish a permanent home in a physical location in Manhattan. Any amount helps us continue our activities online and in person and is tax deductible. THANK YOU!



Early History and Significance KEY FACTS – 877.711.6667 — Conceived in 2003. Trademarked and Application for 501c3 Non-Profit Status through Motherhood Foundation Inc., 2005. Traveling exhibits & Conferences and Online Presence 2006-2010. First full-time exhibition space opened UES Manhattan 2011.We are the first and only facility of its kind.
Mission The Museum of Motherhood is a science, art, and history center that explores the subject of motherhood, fatherhood, and family – past, present, and future.   Our mission is to start great conversations, create thought-provoking exhibits and share information and education from diverse, inclusive, multicultural perspectives.
Reach The museum had approximately 20,000 visitors between September 2011-April, 2014 at its 401 East 84th St. location. Gymboree franchise owners Deb Whitefield and Barry Hanson donated a 2,500 square foot space. Annual academic conferences gathered yearly and featured international panels of presenters including participants from Russia, Israel, Brazil, England and Australia, as well as representatives from a wide variety of American universities.Travelers from Angola, Mexico and the Netherlands (to name a few) made the museum a destination. Interns from local colleges and high schools made up approximately 60 volunteer and research participants each year. The museum served the community offering support, classes, and a play space.
Building Needs Goals include obtaining a permanent facility.
Vision The museum programs aim to shed light on caregiving, global family traditions, new technologies, fathers, the art of motherhood and women in society, thus supporting families and educating future generations.
Phased Application The museum was able to leverage community volunteers, and interns, plus a small staff to implement it’s programming, website and mission, but needs a real estate donation and robust executive board for further development. Business took in approximately $4,500 per month plus corporate donations: tours, party rentals and daily play space usage. M.O.M. received a MAP grant from American Alliance of Museums 2012-2013.
Current Status Pop-Up exhibit on display at Manhattan College Aug-Dec. 2014. MOM Conference and Hall of Fame planned, May 2015. Book fair is planned with Barnes and Noble May 6-10th to raise funds for M.O.M. Advisory Board is active. Director is online, blogging with social media, and has three interns and active community volunteers.Please contact founder M. Joy Rose about our current goals.