#916 Activist grandmothers tackle the halls of power

Raging Grannies

Raging Grannies demonstrating in support of Canada’s universal health care; photo by Tavis Ford; via Flickr Creative Commons

Since governments and major corporations are mostly ignoring the climate train racing down the track and are pretending we can destroy the environment with impunity, grandmothers are organizing. They see there is no time to lose if they want their grandchildren to have any kind of a future.

These five are not the only groups of grandmothers choosing to speak out and act out in defense of people and planet. You can learn more about them and about other activist grandmothers in Paola Gianturco’s book, Grandmother Power.

  • Grandmothers for Peace International was formed in 1981, when the Cold War was holding the sword of Damocles over everyone’s head. They march, protest, give speeches, write to officials and, when they feel it necessary, commit acts of civil disobedience, all in the name of peace.
  • The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers started in 2004 with a gathering of grandmothers from Asia, Africa and North, Central and South America. They formed “an alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children and for the next seven generations to come.”
  • Raging Grannies began in 1987 in Victoria, British Columbia and have spread across Canada and the U.S., with other groups in Australia, Israel and Scotland. Silly hats and satiric lyrics make them visible during their nonviolent protests against a wide range of issues affecting the planet.
  • The Stephen Lewis Foundation is the umbrella organization for the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign. Canadian grandmothers raise funds to support African organizations that provide counseling, nutrition, shelter, school supplies and income-generation activities to grandmothers caring for children orphaned by AIDS.
  • Barbara Schlachter, a semi-retired Episcopal priest, pastoral counselor and spiritual director in Iowa is the muck disturber behind one group. She launched 100 Grannies for a Livable Future in order to form a network of teams “to guard the earth, the source of all life” so that “all children may live in a reawakened, regenerated world.”

Climate change, environmental destruction, cruelty to animals, wars, violence, corruption…the issues prompting grandmothers to take to the streets are legion. They are not going gently into that good night. They give me hope.

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