- The Washington Times - Friday, May 10, 2002

Mother's Day "is about more than breakfast in bed," says Linda Grover, this year's D.C. Mother of the Year.
This nonstop nurturer would rather shake mothers up.
"We believe that Mother's Day this year can serve as a wake-up call, a rallying time for people to start realizing ways they can personally counter hate and hunger, both locally and globally," said Ms. Grover, founder and executive director of Global Mothers.
Women should heed this "call to hands," she said.
Global Mothers started its membership drive last week during an inaugural breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill attended by co-founder Gerry Eitner and supporters such as Rep. John Conyers Jr. and D.C.'s first mother, Virginia Williams, whose son is Mayor Anthony A. Williams.
"Traditionally, it's women who make sure that everyone in the family has enough to eat and that everybody gets along," said Ms. Grover. "What if, suddenly, millions of mothers all over the world rose up and said, 'Quit it. Give that back. Stop fighting. Sit down and eat.' Would it work? It might," Ms. Grover said.
An Associated Press photograph of Muslim women joining hands to control demonstrators in Hyderabad, India, during tense moments between Hindus and Muslims in March gave her great hope.
Ms. Grover's quest for peace, her involvement with D.C. children, her lifelong community work in the 43 cities she has lived in and her missions with the Unitarian Church brought her recognition with American Mothers Inc.
American Mothers was established in the midst of the Civil War by women who insisted their sons on both sides come together at a dinner meeting to foster a peace accord, Executive Director Joan Braitsch said.
The first Mother of the Year was chosen 67 years ago by Sarah Delano Roosevelt, the mother of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Ms. Grover points out that back in 1870, Julia Ward Howe author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and one of the founders of Mother's Day issued a challenge to mothers from both sides of the Civil War to "solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace."
Ms. Grover has established a similar "Declaration of Interdependence" that recognizes that "we are one family." It states that "for the first time in history, it is possible for mothers from all belief systems and all corners of the globe to join in a united effort against the hate, hunger, neglect and violence that are killing innocent children every day."
Therefore, "We call upon global mothers and supporters everywhere to gather in their cities, towns, villages and homes to form a mighty force for human caring. Together with men, women and children we love, we pledge to build a world that is safe for every mother's child."
Ms. Grover will talk about her work with the children's peace efforts since September 11 at a private luncheon tomorrow hosted by American Mothers for about 50 members in Potomac.
American Mothers has chapters in all states and U.S. territories. The award winners are given an opportunity to travel and speak on behalf of their particular project or social cause. In addition, American Mothers conducts a number of workshops and mentoring programs for women.
"We reach mothers, teach mothers and honor mothers," said Mrs. Braitsch, who was the D.C. Mother of the Year in 2000. Former D.C. "Mothers of the Year" include the Rev. Betty Lancaster of Howard University, Pastor Suzie Owens of Greater Mount Calvary Church, Corrine "Lindy" Boggs and Phyllis Marriott.
Mrs. Braitsch said candidates must demonstrate strong service in their community, their church and an educational institution.
The passionate Ms. Grover more than fits the bill.
The intense 68-year-old New Hampshire native was an "early activist" fighting injustices as a child in Texas and whose bold protest included drinking from colored-only water fountains. She sponsored scrap-metal drivers during World War II, was crowned Miss Las Vegas in 1949, saved her New York City co-op from an urban-renewal wrecking ball, drove a New York taxicab, wrote books for daytime soaps, including "General Hospital," and was a stay-at-home mom in the 1960s.
All the while, mothering was, and still is, her primary purpose. Her family consists of three children Cindy, 43, an athlete who lives in Hawaii; Steven, an architect, 41, of Berkeley, Calif.; and Jamie, 36, a marine biologist of Santa Cruz, Calif.; and two grandchildren, Kanoa and Ian. Her former husband, Stanley, was an actor she meet while working as a legislative aide for Rep. Sam Yorty of California in the mid-1950s. But her family extends far beyond. "I believe all children are my children," she said.
When she is not in the halls of Congress lobbying, she spends hours working on peace quilts and building blocks with students at Brent Elementary, Mount Rainier Elementary, Hine Junior High and Eastern High School, where she is known as "the peace lady."
In 2000, she helped to sponsor a "Millennium Meal," (www.milleniummeal.org) at the Askar Refugee Camp in Nablus between Israelis and Palestinians. Earlier this year, she saw a dream realized when the U.N. General Assembly, members of Congress from both parties, President Bush and former President Bill Clinton all supported establishment of a "One Day Holiday of Peace and Sharing" on Jan. 1.
The next step is a daylong event planned for the National Mall on September 11 called "Today's Children, Tomorrow's World."
Ms. Grover believes so fervently in her cause that "I spent all my own money on it," to the point of renting out the bedroom in her small Capitol Hill apartment. She sleeps in the living room.
Seeking "the hands that keep the world from rocking" in her Global Mothers movement, Ms. Grover said, "We all know men ruled the Earth for quite a while, but there's good evidence that once upon a time, women had an equal loving hand in managing things."

For information about Global Mothers and the children's peace day, call 800/401-2011 or e-mail to globalmothers@aol.com. For information about American Mothers Inc. check www.americanmothers.org or call 202/234-7375.


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