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Muskegon Pride Festival offers free mom hugs

Moms in Muskegon are building up the community one free mom hug at a time.

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — The Muskegon Pride Festival kicks off Saturday at 11 a.m. on Western Avenue. The festival aims to celebrate West Michiganders in the LGBT community and uplift those who attend.

One group of mothers is doing exactly that by offering a tender embrace not just to those who want it, but to those who need it. 

"There are unfortunately so many people out there who don’t get supported and loved by their parents," said Jeffrey Pienela, president of Muskegon Pride Center.

According to the Trevor Project, a nationwide survey of 34,000 LGBTQ youths showed that across the United States, only 37% of LGBTQ youth reported home as an LGBTQ-affirming space. This can lead to higher rates of depression and suicide. 

This is why these mothers are setting out to make sure those in attendance feel loved and supported. 

"If you can’t get one from your own family or people that mean something to you, who don’t understand, then you have a chance to get a hug," said mother Terri Crabtree. "I think that it gives people an opportunity to feel loved, needed and supportive and to give them a space in their mind that this is okay. "

Providing a space in the community that is accepting, and welcoming everyone to the pride festival one free mom hug at a time. 

"I think a hug like that tells you to keep shining right. To be beautiful. To keep doing you," explained Jeffrey Pienela. 

So if you see anyone rocking the "Free Mom Hugs: shirt, know that they are welcoming you with open arms. Find out more details on pride festivals in West Michigan by clicking here.


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