Pelosi Remarks at Moms Summit: Addressing the Needs of America’s Families

May 18, 2018
Press Release

Contact: Ashley Etienne/Henry Connelly, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi held a Moms Summit: Addressing the Needs of America’s Families featuring panels on the health, economic security, and civic engagement and leadership of American women, with national leaders, academics, advocates and Members of Congress.  Below are the Leader’s opening remarks: 

Leader Pelosi Opening Remarks

Leader Pelosi.  As we gather here this morning, I thank you all for coming to our Moms Summit.  I wanted to begin with a poem prayer that was written by my mother for her mother.  It’s on the back of your program.  But any time I read it or someone loses a mom, I send it to them because it captures something so special in our lives.

So I’ll read and as some of our folks gather we’ll begin our program.  This is for my mother and dedicated to all mothers living or dead. My mother wrote about her mother:  

‘Mother, I think of you, Guardian Angel of my childhood.

‘Who can fathom the real meaning of the word Mother?  Whose hearts are not filled with the memory of her, who has not stopped loving us from the first moment of our existence, when like a ray of sunshine that beamed down into our cradles!   When the fingers of care and worry had not yet touched our hearts, it was Mother who was always around preventing their entrance into the holy island of Childhood.

‘Motherhood cannot be understood.  It has its overtones in all languages; like magic it weaves a pattern full of joys, tears, patience, love – each exalting like music of golden bells.

‘Even when the word is spoken by an old man, it sounds as if it comes from the lips of a child.  To try to explain we must listen to our hearts as well as our minds.  

‘Mother teaches us to walk and play; to talk and pray.  She knows the joys of happiness, she knows the sorrows of worry, care, and heartache.  Mother is a beautiful person; when everything else in the world may change, she alone remains the same.  

‘Others may love us; but she knows us, understands us, and will forgive us whatever we may do.  Mother is truly the living example of Christ’s sublime Sermon on the Mount, for she had Fed the hungry, Given Drink to the Thirsty, Clothed the Poor, Visited the Sick, Buried the Dead, Taught the Ignorant, and has given Solace to the Sorrowful.  In a few words Mother is God’s Co-helper, and a radiant beam from the Mother of Mercy.’  

Words assembled by Nancy D’Alesandro, my mother.

What I love is seeing how my own daughters, four of them, professional women mothers.  I don’t know how you all do it.  I was sequential.  I was home and then I was outside the home, and when I was home I could barely wash my face. 

The fact that you manage family and profession and the rest, I’m totally in awe of you.  But I also love the fact that moms are raising their sons – to be parenting in a way that is – shall we say – more inclusive.  Not that some families didn’t already have that but more have it now.

So, I welcome mothers, daughters, grandmothers, fathers and sons, and sisters and brothers.  Welcome to our Mom’s Summit.  In honor of Mother’s Day 2018, we are here to forge solution to the problems facing mothers and families and to empower the next generation of women leaders to make a difference in the lives of the American people.

Nothing is more welcome or wholesome – nothing is more wholesome to our democracy than the increased leadership of women, do you not agree?  

[Applause]

As a mother of five and grandmother of nine, I know women are often the key decision-makers in families – often.  We must ensure that mothers have every tool to succeed, from paid leave to equal pay for equal work to affordable, quality health care to child care.  The list goes on. 

We are privileged to be joined by an exceptional group of academics, advocates and national leaders today who are committed to this mission.  Together, we are here to focus on the importance of public health for women and families, we are focusing on enabling women to advance their families’ economic security, we are here to unleash the power of women as leaders in their communities and in the country.  We know that when women succeed, America succeeds.

To really address the challenges facing our mothers, we need the activism of our daughters and our sons and we welcome our sons who are here.  Our young people are our future, the engine of progress in our families, communities and nation.

During this watershed moment of Me Too, Times Up, We Said Enough – my daughter Christine is here – she is a part of the We Said Enough movement.  Thank you, Christine.  

I urge you to join your voices in the rising chorus of young people speaking up and making a difference in the world.  We need you to march in rallies, vote at the ballot box – vote at the ballot box – mobilize on social media, and take your place at the head of the decision-making table.  

We need young people to blaze trails in every part of our American democracy in our communities, businesses and politics, in the military, in the academic world, in every part of our lives.

It gives me great hope that nearly 600 women have been running for the House, the Senate and the Governorship.  More than 470 women for the House alone.  That’s an applause line.

[Applause]

This is not just a statistic, this is a movement.  And of course, we want more.

Today, we will hear from our distinguished panelists and from you, the exchange is what is so important.  It is my hope that as you ask questions and exchange, if you are watching on social media you can send in questions and follow along using the hashtag #MomsSummit.  Today, tomorrow and throughout the journey towards progress, be ready, be yourself, be ready.  The country needs your vision to imagine a better future, and courage to make it a reality.  Be yourself, be ready, know your power.  Now let’s get started.

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