Ordinary women, life-changing events, and the birth of social movements

May 14, 2013

Mothers Turned Activists
The old saying goes that if life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Here, from the Bill Moyers website, are brief profiles of six women who faced different kinds of adversity, heartbreak, or awakenings to problems affecting their community and, in their own version of “lemonade,” created movements for social change. Because they cared about their own children and other people’s children, they let their grief, worry, and anger compel them to take action, becoming leaders in ways they never imagined.

For related reading about how the personal can become political, learn about the activism that has emerged from many of the families who lost loved ones in the Newtown mass shooting this past December. See especially “Sandy Hook Moms,” from the Huffington Post. It’s an essay coauthored by four of the Newtown mothers who say they are not going to go away and will keep working for change. They want to celebrate their children’s lives “by turning this tragedy into a moment of transformation,” honoring the 26 lives lost “by advocating common sense solutions—solutions that address the issues that result in gun violence, including mental health policy, school safety solutions, addressing the isolation in our communities, and yes, gun safety and responsibility.”

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni is an independent scholar, writer, and editor. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992).

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