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Left Out of Mother's Day Mainstream? Celebrate "Mamas Day"

This year, artists who helped create Mamas Day cards are featuring mothers from immigrant and Muslim families. (Melanie Cervantes/Forward Together)
This year, artists who helped create Mamas Day cards are featuring mothers from immigrant and Muslim families. (Melanie Cervantes/Forward Together)
May 12, 2017

Portland, OR - Social justice groups will celebrate "Mamas Day" this Sunday, with greeting cards featuring mothers who are typically left out of mainstream depictions. Comments from Kalpana Krishnamurthy (KUL-pah-nuh KRISH-nuh-murth-ee), policy director, Forward Together.

In recent years, groups that represent marginalized communities have given Mother's Day a makeover. "Mamas Day" was started in 2011 as a way to celebrate moms who typically are left out of the "traditional" maternal depiction. The Strong Families campaign of the social-justice group Forward Together began creating cards featuring queer mothers, single mothers, moms with trans children, and others not often seen on greeting cards or in the media. Forward Together's policy director Kalpana Krishnamurthy in Portland says many Mother's Day cards just reinforce stereotypes about motherhood.

"The types of images we see are fairly generic, and in their 'generic-ness,' they exclude so many of the families that are a part of our communities. So, each year we commission artists to create original art that reflects the various ways that our mamas and our families look."

Statistics show families look more and more diverse. Fewer than half of American kids live in homes with two heterosexual partners who are in their first marriage, according to a Pew Research Center poll. That's down from 73-percent in 1960, and 61-percent in 1980. The cards are available online at 'mamasday.org.'

Krishnamurthy hopes more Oregonians will get to know the Muslim and immigrant communities in their areas, which often are underrepresented and have experienced an increased wave of hate crimes over the past year. She also encourages people to join local organizations that support the rights of Muslims and immigrants.

"These cards are beautiful. They have images on the front; they have compelling words on the back. And we know that the next step is to have people do that work face-to-face in local communities."

This year, Forward Together is distributing 15-thousand cards to immigrant and Muslim mothers across the country through 28 partner organizations, including the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Muslim advocacy group "MPower Change" and others.

In recent years, groups that represent marginalized communities have given Mother's Day a makeover. Eric Tegethoff (TEG-it-off) explains.

at mamasday.org

Reach Krishnamurthy at 503-245-5563. Mamas Day info at mamasday.org. Pew research at /pewrsr.ch/13xppXz.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR