How A Mom And Son Are Celebrating Pride Month
Starting after the 2016 election and every year since, Sara, her son Parker and other members of Free Mom Hugs have taken their support on tour.
June is pride month.
But while many are celebrating, others are struggling.
That's where Free Mom Hugs comes in.
"We pretty much stand in and support wherever support is not provided to the members of the LGBTQ community," said Kati Tait,
the state chapter leader of GA Free Mom Hugs.
The organization's founder, Sara Cunningham, took a page from her own life when she created the group.
"I have two children, my youngest son is gay, and I was raised very conservatively, I raised my children conservatively, in an evangelical non-affirming church. I behaved badly when he came out to me. I acted in way that I regret, I just had a really difficult time with that. Hearing from my son when he was able to live authentically that he was happy, to meet the gay community and to hear their stories, that changed my mind. And so that took me from a place of fear and ignorance to getting educated and loving and celebrating the community," Cunningham said.
With all her experience and inexperience, she set out on a mission to help her son's community.
From standing in at weddings, to participating in 5Ks and hosting luncheons, Sara and the Free Mom Hugs state chapters touch lives across the country.
"We have been able to say yes we'll be there, yes we'll come and support, yes we'll gather a group of moms and we're going to be out there giving hugs, high-fives, fist bumps. So it is so important to have them local that way if it's anything that is last minute or an emergency, we can go out there and be loud and proud," Tait said.
Starting after the 2016 election and every year since, Sara, her son Parker and other members of Free Mom Hugs have taken their support on tour, holding events in 10 cities.
This year is year five, deemed the "don't hide your pride tour."
"It was from Oklahoma City to Orlando, Florida. You know with what's happening in Florida and we wanted to visit the Pulse memorial in honor of the families and survivors and those lives that were tragically taken from us," Cunningham said.
We have luncheons with civic, faith, and business leaders and we share our resources. We share our stories. All the things that changed my mind and that affect families like mine."
The future is technicolor for Free Mom Hugs.
They aspire to be a beacon of hope and inspire others to support the LGBTQIA+ community.
"We're already out there celebrating and encouraging people and our main goal is to go beyond the hug," Tait said.
In the future, we want to be a presence everywhere so that everyone knows that Free Mom Hugs is an organization that is out there supporting each individual, regardless of if you are a part of the LGBTQIA community or not."
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