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Mother’s Walk enters fourth decade

Mother’s Walk enters fourth decade

By Dee Camp

OROVILLE-The Mother’s Day Walk for Peace is entering its fourth decade this year, still led by co-founder and 1960s anti-war activist Dorinda Enzensperger.

Enzensperger was among those who started the walk in 1983 when they met a Canadian group that symbolically returned a replica of a Cruise missile to the U.S.

At the time, the new weapon was being developed by Boeing.

After the “Refuse the Cruise” protest at the border, Dorinda and Joseph Enzensperger loaded the missile on top of their car and took it to Boeing, Dorinda recalled.

They ended up attracting police attention as they approached the aviation manufacturer’s plant.

“We have been ‘waging peace’ every Mother’s Day since,” the Enzenspergers said.

Dorinda, 77, is the mother of six sons and a longtime activist.

She said she got her start at age 12 or 13 by becoming active in school issues.

“I never ran for office, but I supported good candidates,” she said.

In the 1960s, she was involved in the anti-war movement protesting the Vietnam War. She lost a brother, Peter Fonda, in that war.

And yes, she said, her family is related to the famous Fondas of the acting world.

Her anti-war activity got her in trouble with another brother, who worked for General Electric in New York. As a weapons maker, GE was targeted by the protesters, she said.

“I didn’t really let that stop me from doing what I felt was right,” she said.

Every year since 1983, the Enzenspergers have spent Mother’s Day participating in the walk. Family members sometimes join in.

Dorinda said she sometimes ponders doing something else that day, but so far has remained faithful to the cause.

The walk attracts mostly people in their 30s to 50s, but also draws younger and older participants. Teens and other young people come, sometimes in response to flyers left at local schools.

During the border ceremony, people share poetry, sing songs – often with resistance themes – and share information. Speakers talk about peace and environmental topics.

“It’s to make these appeals to Mother Earth,” Dorinda said.

Rick Gillespie said he and his wife, Jere Gillespie, also have been involved since the beginning. They’ve participated in most of the walks, and help with pre-event planning and publicity.

The event usually draws 50-125 people from both sides of the border.

The Enzenspergers and Gillespie said the walk is in keeping with the intent of early Mother’s Day advocate and suffragette Julia Ward Howe.

Howe, who also wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” founded the weekly Woman’s Journal in 1870. The same year, she wrote an “Appeal to womanhood throughout the world,” which later was known as Mother’s Day Proclamation.

It was a pacifist reaction to the U.S. Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. She called for all women to join for world peace.

“From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own,” Howe’s proclamation said. “It says: Disarm, disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence vindicate possession. As man have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of council.”

She called on women to meet first “to bewail and commemorate the dead” and then to “solemnly take council with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, man as the brother of man, each bearing after his own kind the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.”

In 1872, she called for Mother’s Day to be celebrated on June 2, and later called for it to be on July 4. Neither was established. Howe died in 1910.

The modern Mother’s Day is an unrelated celebration, but many people hark back to Howe’s version.

“It’s not just about buying her flowers,” Gillespie said. “Mothers are abhorred by sending their sons and daughters off to conflict. They are acknowledging the carnage that was happening in the name of peace.”

Many walkers bring their mothers along, or mothers bring their families. A number of participants wear pictures of their mothers around their necks.

Along with an anti-war message, participants promote justice and social programs. Ministers often come, as do politically active people, Gillespie said.

“It’s a time to share our visions of peace and what we can do,” he said.

The Enzenspergers and Gillespies have been “driving forces” behind the event since its inception, Tonasket resident Clare Paris said.

“There were some extra-quiet years when, if it weren’t for their efforts, I think it just might not have happened – at least on the U.S. side.”

She said it’s “a perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day, since Mother’s Day was originally formed in the name of peace,” she said.

For today’s walk, the Enzenspergers say Canadian peacemakers, including a large contingent from Doukhobor communities of western Canada, will walk from Haynes Point Park, 1.5 miles north of the border, or arrive by bus at the border.

The Mother’s Day Walk for Peace is one of the oldest ongoing annual peace events in the country.

“Ten years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq have left us financially bankrupt, thousands of our own precious sons and daughters have been lost and many tens of thousands are deeply wounded both physically and mentally,” the Enzenspergers said. “How long until the people say ‘enough of this madness?’ How many innocents must die before we put an end to war and work for the betterment of our green planet and all humanity?”

Along with armed conflicts, “we live on a small, fragile planet and we face huge problems, global climate change, dying oceans, crashing economies, looming shortages and social injustice. War is not the answer and never has been.”



Moms offered breakfast

By Jennifer Marshall

BREWSTER – Moms were honored twice this weekend in town – on Saturday during the joint Mother’s Day/Cinco de Mayo celebration, and at a breakfast today hosted by the American Legion.

American Legion Columbia Post 97, 102 N. Main Ave., will serve crepes and more from 9 a.m. to noon today, May 11.

Mothers eat for free and will get carnations.

“They enjoy it,” said Candra Blackburn, Legion manager and Auxiliary member. “We usually get the same ones to come back every year.”

The Mother’s Day breakfast has been a local tradition for more than 20 years, Blackburn said. Legion employees look forward to the event.

“We usually have a pretty good turnout for Mother’s Day,” she said. “It’s always pleasing to put a smile on a mom’s face.”

The Legion hosts breakfast every Sunday morning at the same time, Blackburn said.

On Friday, Chamber of Commerce Treasurer Sabrina O’Connell said she still had some shopping to do for Mother’s Day gifts to be given out Saturday.

“It’s going to be kind of a random giveaway,” she said of the gifts, which will include household items such as tablecloths and blankets, yard art, outdoor planters and gift certificates to local businesses.

After the parade, the DJ announced the winners of several categories, from the mother with the most children to the best dancer and best dressed.

“I think it was just good timing, with Cinco de Mayo being on a weekday and Mother’s Day being such a hugely popular holiday,” O’Connell said of the combined event.

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