I took an early morning walk today in Central Park with Joan Blades, founder with her husband Wes Boyd, of the progressive political on-line grassroots powerhouse, moveon.org. But her agenda wasn’t moveon.com. Joan is a serial entrepreneur and a very successful one, whether creating a software company or a new nonprofit organization. It was the latter she wanted to talk with me about today: her latest venture, MomsRising.
Joan has plunged her creative hands into a key mobilizing issue of the day, building a more family-friendly America in the workplace and public policy. Fresh from getting the New Jersey legislature to pass a paid sick leave measure, she brought me up to date on the organization she started in 2006 in response to her own experiences as a mom in the workplace.
MomsRising has over 140,000 citizen members already and is aiming for 1,000,000 to participate in their citizen advocacy agenda. Over 85 national and state organizations have aligned with MomsRising to create a coalition that works at the state and national levels to bringing motherhood and family issues to the forefront of the country’s awareness so they can advance workplace policies such as paid sick leave, maternity and paternity leave, flexible work hours, and equal pay for equal work. Quality childcare and healthcare access are also on their rather large plate. And they’re pumping up their political fundraising so they can do more lobbying on all these issues.
They’re good at the use of symbols–which they put into the hands of an empowered constituency as they did in New Jersey–to get their messages across to the public and policy makers. For example, take a look at the clever onesie photo gallery where you can join in the effort to call attention to the need for policies that help moms and dads care for their children while staying in the workforce. You’re given two options in a classic grassroots, viral organizing technique:
1- CRAFTY OPTION:
a) Get a new or used baby onesie (or a small kids t-shirt) and make it your own by decorating it with fabric paint, markers, or even rhinestones! We invite you to add catchy slogans (“Paid Family Leave or Bust”) or your hopes for the future.
b) After you’ve decorated your onesie, then… pop it in the mail to us! SNAIL MAIL YOUR CREATIONS TO: MomsRising, P.O. Box 19596, Seattle, WA 98109
c) (optional) Hold a party! If you like, you can get together with friends and have a ONEsie Party to decorate! Or decorate your ONEsie with your children, at play groups, with book clubs, or even while you’re waiting for sports practice to end. *Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, with the Subject line “Power of ONEsie,” and tell us if you are doing this in a group so we can tell the press and keep track.
2- NON-CRAFTY OPTION:
You can buy a ONEsie from MomsRising online with one easy click, and we’ll decorate it for you and add it to the Power of ONEsie project.
*Click here to buy your ONEsie to add to the Power of ONEsie project: https://secure.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizations/momsrising/shop/custom.jsp?donate_page_KEY=2305
Please invite your friends to participate in this effort by forwarding this web page link to them. Working together, we amplify our voices!
While the name of the organization is MomsRising and there are many gender-biased injustices to be tackled, the fact is that dads fortunes will also rise if this work is successful. The women’s movement has changed men as profoundly as it has changed women, and both now want to be able to make a living while having a life. That’s the men’s and women’s movement of tomorrow, starting today.
Look for MomsRising to take its place within the panoply of leading advocacy groups. No, join them in their work. Few things could be more important than electing a new president and policy makers up at the state and local levels who will prioritize the wellbeing of America’s families and children.