A group of activists and mothers in Oakland, Calif. have started an annual Mother’s Day tradition that would probably put Hallmark to shame. Fed up with the mainstream image of mothers as domestic, middle class, and white, they’ve made a real effort over the past two years to celebrate who they call “mamas on the margins”: all those single, queer, immigrant, and young mothers whose stories are often glossed over by corporate card makers.
“I can’t find a Mother’s Day card that looks at our identities in a way that is sentimental for me and my mom,” says Shanelle Matthews, communications coordinator at Forward Together, an Oakland-based organization that’s leading the e-Card drive through its Strong Families initiative. Matthews grew up as one of three kids in a single-parent black household, and wants to celebrate her mother’s hard work. “This campaign is personally close to be because I can finally say something to my mom on Mother’s Day that’s actually of cultural relevance and value.”