inde My Mom; A Woman Who Welcomes All – Kind Cotton

By Kaitlin Johnstone

My Mom; A Woman Who Welcomes All

Every loss, every mistake, every accomplishment, ever fear, I am grateful to have had my mother right by my side. She worked hard to give me a life she never had all the while never complaining. Most of all she taught me the importance of loving everyone; welcoming everyone. You see, my mom was the “cool” mom growing up (I am currently envisioning her doing a happy dance by me admitting this right now). But, truly, our house was the go-to hang out for as long as I can remember. Friends spent days on end there, to the point where parents would call just to make sure they were at our place. Parties were at the Lamberts, holidays were at the Lamberts, graduation celebrations were at the Lamberts and as much as I’d like to think this may have had something to do with me, I now convinced it was all my mom. She is the kindest soul you’ll ever meet and on Mother’s Day, and every day, I am grateful to have her in my life. Every year around this time I fondly look back on the memories we’ve shared such as driving into the side of a store the first day I received my permit, or the look she gave me while she helped me step into my wedding dress.  However, this year feels a bit different. This year I can’t help but think of the children all over the world who have been ripped from their families. No one to comfort their fears, no one to tuck them in, no one to care for them. We are meant to be the country that lights the way for freedom, not the country that separates children from their families and locks them away with a foil blanket. Even worse, are the people who support this behavior. Somewhere deep down in the hearts of all Americans is a space of understanding. I imagine that people who are ok with this have had a time in their own lives when they’ve needed their mom. Where the only place in the world they may have felt welcomed was in the comfort of their mom’s arms. As a country we have taken that comfort away from thousands of immigrant and refugee children and, as a teacher, I refuse to allow any child that walks through my room not to feel safe and comfortable.


No child should have to feel less than because of where they are from; however, this happens frequently in this country. Because, in reality, we are country drenched in white supremacy. I am not here to say I am perfect when it comes to unpacking my privilege, and becoming an antiracist, but I am here to tell you I acknowledge my privileges provided to me based upon the color of my skin and my sexuality and I am here to be an ally. I am a teacher and it is my duty to make my room a safe space. A space in which all children are welcomed, loved, and valued for their individuality. A space in which children feel acknowledged and visible. A space in which representation of various cultures and beliefs matter. A space where all voices can be heard.

I like to think that many of the beliefs I have stem from the mother who raised me. One story always stands out in my mind. I asked my mother when I was 4 if my uncle had a boyfriend. Without hesitation, she answered yes. She assured me that love is love and answered any questions my inquisitive young mind had. When I tell people this story, many ask how she talked to me about that so young as if loving someone of the same sex should be shameful, or abnormal. To her, it was simple. All were welcomed and important in her home. Thank you, mom, for being an example of true love. Thank you for raising me to think critically and to push back against hate. Thank you for being proud of me for using my voice when things are unjust. Thank you for unpacking your privilege with me. Thank you for being the epitome of what a mom should be. One that nurtures, inspires, guides, and welcomes all.

Yesterday, we shared our most recent collaboration - the 'All our Welcome Here' tee, that was created in part by Jennifer @themulticulturalclassroom. June 20th is World Refugee Day and June is Pride Month so there is no better time to show the world that all are welcome. We are proud to be a part of this movement. Please be sure to check out Jennifer’s blog for more information, print her signs, and join us in letting everyone know they are welcome.



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