Every day of the Free Mom Hugs Virtual tour we are highlighting our dedicated chapter leaders. Free Mom Hugs would not be the movement we are without their dedication and hard work. Today we get to talk about Kara Richardson from our Arkansas chapter.

Tell us about your journey and how you came to a place of support for the LGBTQIA+ community.

I don’t know that I really have a “journey” but growing up I have always supported the LGBTQIA+ community. However, it wasn’t until I was older and had valuable friendships with people within the community that I really learned the struggles. I felt like I needed to do more to help and could also do more to help. Especially seeing how this current administration has been on the attack since Day 1. I am very active politically and I am constantly calling to action regarding dangerous legislation that is being introduced in our state.

If you have an LGBTQIA+ child, your “reason”, tell us about them, him, or her.

I don’t have an LGBTQIA+ child but I do have an 11 year old son that I will support no matter how he identifies or who he loves.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about your “reason” for getting involved in advocacy work?

I guess the first thing that pops in my mind about my “reason” is that I just wanted to do something positive. I work in a corporate field and while I have a good job, it’s just not fulfilling. Unfortunately, I witness a lot of the hate, discrimination and bigotry that comes along with that field. I wanted to make a difference and be there to help those in need. It was a way for me to feel like I was countering all the negative views that I often heard at work.

When did you first hear about Free Mom Hugs and what motivated you to get involved as a volunteer for the organization?

I first heard about Free Mom Hugs when I saw an event on Facebook asking for volunteers for NWA Pride in Fayetteville 2019. I was tired of all the hate I was seeing in the news and the constant legal attacks against the community and thought “if nothing else, I can offer someone a hug”. Because of my social anxiety, I also volunteered to pick up another Hugger who needed a ride so that I wouldn’t back out. I’m so glad I did! That’s where I met 2 of my now closest friends who are also leading FMH-Arkansas with me.

What excites you most about being involved with FMH?

The sense of community and acceptance. Everyone I meet is so loving and  helpful. I like feeling like I’m part of a group that is spreading love.

What brings you the most fear?

Obviously the one thing that brings me the worst fear would be someone or something hurting my child. As moms I feel we can all relate to that common fear and join together to make this world a better and safer place for our kids

What brings you the most joy?

The thing that brings me the most joy would be seeing people happy and living their true authentic selves.

Tell us about some of the exciting things the chapter in your state is working on.

We are hoping to expand our reach by becoming more involved in affirming churches, GSA groups in schools, attend as many events as possible and just be more of a presence in our community. I would also like to become more politically active as a group. I know we aren’t allowed to promote or endorse a candidate but we can fight against dangerous legislation such as discrimination policies, conversion therapy, “bathroom bills”, etc.

Is there anything else we need to know about you and what makes you, you?

Like a lot of people, I don’t really like talking about myself. I’m more of a “behind the scenes” type person so it’s great that my co-leaders Tara and Carol are more outgoing. Ha! ha!  However, I am also involved in two other local non-profits that foster animals. Fabulous Felines NWA and Arkansas Weimaraner Rescue.  Our dog, Daisy, was a foster fail from AWR and you will see her at pride events sometimes all dressed up and ready for free hugs. Currently we are also fostering a mama cat who just had 5 kittens! My dream would be to open my own animal sanctuary.

We are so lucky to have such a strong chapter in Arkansas with Kara and the rest of the Arkansas team. If you are interested in supporting the Arkansas Free Mom Hugs team you can donate to them directly.