For the second year in a row I told my husband in advance what I wanted for Mother’s Day, it was the same thing I requested last year. My wish was not for a thing, but an impactful experience. My Mother’s Day gift was to help me coordinate, wrangle, and cover the needs of our four kids while I took two days away from home to attend what I consider the ultimate celebration of mothers. Organizing my four kids crazy schedules for two days without me is a generous gift I assure you, as some of you other moms might understand. It is no small task. That said, to be present at the Save The Children’s launch event of the State of The Worlds Mothers Report at the UN on one day, attend the second annual Moms+SocialGood conference the next, while spending quality time with my dear childhood friend in between, was the type of gift that fed my soul.
The Moms+SocialGood event celebrates the power we all have as mothers to change the world, and highlights the amazing actions extraordinary mothers are taking every day to do so. It is the culminating event of the Global Mom Relay that has run for the past two months, passing the baton between stories and causes shared daily through social media. Johnson & Johnson generously donated $1 per shared post to support the United Nations’ Every Woman Every Child Initiative. These donations will be used to help improve global maternal and child health, and welfare through the Girl Up initiative, Shot@Life campaign or MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action).
Held at the Paley Center for Media in New York City the Moms+SocialGood event was hosted by the United Nations Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, BabyCenterTM, The Huffington Post and the 92Y. The day was filled with celebrities turned activists, like Padma Lakshmi, and new mother Olivia Wilde, and every day women turned heroes like Elizabeth Smart and Hlengiwe Lwandle. Hlengiwe, is a mother living with HIV, who avoided passing the virus on to her baby by taking anti-viral medication during pregnancy. She now mentors other HIV positive mothers with Mothers2Mothers. All of the speakers and performers of the day use their voices to amplify their message towards meaningful change, and serve as examples of how each of us can make an impact.
Moms+SocialGood highlights the role of social media, technology and philanthropy as a means for progress.
One of my favorite moments of the day came at the introduction, when Kathy Kalvin, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, and Pat Mitchell President and CEO of The Paley Center for Media took the stage. Pat Mitchell immediately addressed the missing Nigerian school girls. She issued a call to action for social media influencers to keep the focus on the return of those girls, and not to let up until they return safely. Kathy Kalvin also opened by reminding us of the great progress that has been made so far in terms of maternal and child health, but there is much work still to be done. She reminded us that we have many of the solutions, weather it’s vaccines or bed nets, we know how to solves the problems, we just have to get it done.
Speakers and panelists such as Kathryn Bolles, Director of the Health and Nutrition Global Initiative with Save The Children gave a stirring presentation on the important work they do towards saving moms and kids in crisis. HRH Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan joined the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics Dr. Sandra Hassink and Leith Greenslade UN Special Envoy on the MDGs on a panel on investing in mothers and newborns, and improving global health. Amazing panels continued throughout the day and included, moving performances by Saul Paul, and spoken word artist Sarah Kay:
They are all are worth watching, and you can do so via the Livestream videos that were watched globally during the event. Prepare to be inspired.
One of the last speakers of the day was Elizabeth Smart, activist and author who brought the day full circle by offering words of wisdom to the still missing Nigerian schoolgirls. She said that she would give them the same advice her mother gave her when she was rescued from her own abduction experience.
You can not be devalued by someone else, if you are abused you still have worth. It does not make them less in any way, it can’t destroy them.
Her message to them was hope for their futures. Her message to society was to shatter that shame in loss of virtue idea that is so destructive. This is a crime that happens everywhere in the world and we should use our voices to make it an ongoing conversation until it ends.
Join the Global Moms Challenge of taking up action, using our voices for positive meaningful impact.
Happy Mothers Day!