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Contact: Erin Malone, Forward Together
Five Black Artists Celebrate Black Mamas and their Right to Parent for Mamas Day
Black mamas across the nation are being honored this year with Forward Together’s eighth annual “Mamas Day” celebration with a focus on a Black Mamas Revival pledge to support building a world where all Black mamas thrive and maintain their right to parent. This year’s theme is in response to the many ways Black mamas and motherhood have been under attack specifically when dealing with criminalization, maternal health and reproductive autonomy.
Forward Together has partnered with five artists of the African diaspora to design cards that reflect what Black mamahood means to them. From Black immigrant mamas to empowering Black women and femmes, this year’s cards are all about celebrating the many variations of Black mamas and Black mamahood. Francis Mead, Iman Geddy, Amir Khadar, Jamilla Okubo and Loveis Wise are the artists who’ve used their work to celebrate Black mamas this year. Mead, Geddy and Khadar are available for interview.
“My mom is my muse, she is a strong, beautiful, dark skinned, African woman who has been a mother to so many more than just her biological children. I created this card with her in mind. Empowering Black women and, or femmes is always central in my work and mothers are not an exclusion. I generally like to look at narratives and situations where Black people have been left out, in this case it was Mother’s Day, and create a place for them. This project also allowed me to reflect on my relationship with my mom,” artist Amir Khadar explains their approach to creating work for this campaign.
Forward Together has also partnered with Black Mamas Matter Alliance, National Network of Abortion Funds, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, and Southern Birth Justice Network to center the work they’re doing to uplift, support and fight for the rights of Black mamas.
Diana Lugo-Martinez, Forward Together’s Movement Building Director, explains why 2018 is the year to honor Black mamas “This year, we've decided to celebrate Black mamas and their right to parent as we continue to center and honor those who are targeted and harmed by the Trump administration. We know this presidency's increased targeting of Black mamas is rooted in long-standing white supremacy, anti-Black racism, misogyny and transmisogyny. Our Mamas Day campaign presents an opportunity to be in solidarity with partners who are committed to the struggle of Black liberation. From reproductive justice to economic justice, we pledge to leverage our tools, resources and networks to continue to challenge the narrative around mamahood and show up for and support Black mamas’ right to parent."
From racial discrimination within and outside the health care setting, to criminalization, to lack of access to reproductive services including abortion to existing during an anti-immigrant administration, Black mamas face a hostile environment that makes it difficult for them to parent their children, whether they be biological, community, given or chosen.
“I never understood how my mother was able to raise my brothers and me as a single mother in a new country. She’d lost her community when she left home and that meant she no longer had that support system that was built into her culture. As a child, watching her struggle made me determined to find my community here in my new home and forge my own extended family that expanded heteronormative notions of kinship. Mamas Day allowed me to pay homage to not just my mother who in her own way taught me about the importance of community, but to other trailblazer mamas and movement mamas who nurtured me and guided me along my journey,” explains Iman Geddy.
Francis Mead uses her own Black mamahood to salute others, “As a Black mama and artist it is so special to be a part of this campaign and share my own experience of motherhood. I believe Black mothers in all their forms need to be celebrated and honored.”
How people can join us in honoring Black mamas:
- Sign the Black Mamas Revival pledge to join the fight to protect, support and amplify Black mamas
- Visit mamasday.org to send a card to Black mamas
- Share the Mamas Day art and Black Mamas Revival pledge to encourage others to commit to building a world where all Black mamas can thrive
- Donate to Forward Together to support our Mamas Day tradition of recognizing mamahood in all forms through powerful, transformative artwork
- Follow and share photos and stories of #MamasDay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
About Forward Together
Mamas Day is an annual project of Forward Together, national multiracial organization that works with community leaders and organizations to transform culture and policy to catalyze social change. We work to ensure all families have the rights recognition and resources they need to thrive. Now in its sixth year, Mamas Day originated as a project of our Strong Families network that unites 180 grassroots groups nationwide. We are committed to making art an integral part of the movements for racial, economic and gender justice. Visit MamasDay.org for more information.