Press Release

The secret is out and our friends at Lifetime have made their announcement that Jamie Lee Curtis will be starring in and directing the movie based on Free Mom Hugs Founder, Sara Cunningham’s Memoir How We Sleep at Night.

This is just incredible news for all of us in the Free Mom Hugs community. Sara’s story has always been the backbone of the mission and the common denominator for the moms who have joined in the movement either as volunteers or Chapter Leaders.

The feeling of being a mother, a woman of faith, with conservative ideals and/or family members creates a very common journey for these families when a child reveals their sexual orientation or gender identity. As Sara has said many times, from her own experience, when a child comes out of the closet, often, the parent(s) go into theirs. Rejection from friends and family is all too common. Church homes and families become distant strangers either through their subtle avoidance or complete rejection.

You Are Not Alone

We wanted to know how Sara felt when the announcement was made public. She told us”my hands were shaking so much I couldn’t text or call anyone with the news!” Her signature Good News phrase, “I’m hyperventilating” permeated all messages, posts and phone calls that came after she could use her hands again. And then the emotions hit. She said, the awareness of the bigger picture began to settle in, and she realized the”impact this has for moms like me to not feel alone.”

Sara knows that feeling all too well, and found out she wasn’t alone when she discovered the private online group Serendipitydodah which is home of the Mama Bears when Parker, her son, first came out to her when he was 21 years old. This group served as her support, her sounding board, her church, and her research as she traveled the journey to not only accept her son Parker as a gay man, but celebrate him. This camaraderie is also what helped her write her memoir, and chronicle the journey “from the church to the Pride parade.”

In thinking about Jamie Lee Curtis making this film, and who may have the opportunity to see it, Sara remarked, “What I wouldn’t have done to see this story back when I needed it.”

Fast Friends

As you can see, Sara and Jamie Lee became fast friends upon meeting and their similarities both physically and emotionally, are boldly apparent. They both have an affinity for Jeeps, cereal for dinner, the spiritual world of synchronicity, and for empowering other women to use their voices for good. As Maya Angelou says, “When you know better, you do better.” These two women embody the life-saving force of doing better. And the re-telling of Sara’s story on the big screen will empower so many mothers, parents, friends and allies to do the same for our LGBTQIA+ children.

Jamie Lee Curtis will star as Sara Cunningham in an upcoming Lifetime Movie.

Changing the World

This film will be a powerful tool in the Free Mom Hugs mission, “We empower the world to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community through visibility, education and conversation” Just think of the visibility of seeing a mom like Sara and be able to witness her journey. Imagine the enlightenment of new information to old ideas, and the conversations to follow in the homes that will be seeing the film. We have dreamt about an opportunity like this, to give hope to the LGBTQIA+ children like Parker, to have the courage to have these conversations with their families and bring about understanding of each other’s stories.

Sara’s main goal in her advocacy and in forming Free Mom Hugs was to help parents and children have authentic relationships with each other.  She has seen the power of this in her own family, and wants nothing more than to see it in yours. And with the help of Jamie Lee Curtis and Lifetime TV, the reach of this message just traveled farther and wider than we could have ever imagined.

Stay Tuned

From the very beginning when Jamie Lee sent Sara a friend request on Facebook, and during phone calls and even a surprise trip to Oklahoma City when Jamie Lee wanted to meet Sara, her family and community, her catch- phrase to all the questions was, “Stay Tuned!”. As we navigate this next phase of movie making, we will let you know when we know, and can’t wait for the Watch Parties to come! Until then, as they say in show business, Stay Tuned!

The Free Mom Hugs movement started with a simple idea. Five years ago, Sara Cunningham made a homemade button with three words—Free Mom Hugs. Our non-profit was built with Sara’s vision and over the last year and a half we have been joined by moms, dads, aunts, uncles, and so many others. Free Mom Hugs success is owed in large part to the dedication of our volunteers. Because of their commitment we are able to announce the launch of the official Free Mom Hugs store.

The Free Mom Hugs Billboard is our flagship t-shirt. It is the signal to anyone who sees one of us that we are a safe place for them. Whether we are at an event or in the grocery store, this shirt serves as a message to everyone.  We have received hundreds of emails from people all over the world who want to wear this shirt to serve as a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. We also got a little creative and have a lot of fun items to purchase in our new store. All proceeds from our merchandise will go to further the mission of Free Mom Hugs, to make the world a more accepting and welcoming place for all people.

Visit our new store

Free Mom Hugs’ success would not be possible without its incredible volunteers. The launch and creation of our store and merchandise is no exception. Much of the exciting and unique merchandise that you will find in our store was designed by one of our volunteers, Wayne McWilliams.

Designer Extraordinaire Wayne McWilliams

A little about Wayne:

Wayne McWilliams is a Graphic Designer and Front End Web Developer from San Antonio, Texas. He graduated with a BFA in Computer Graphic Arts from The University of the Incarnate Word in 2013. During college he fell in love with WordPress and the community that surrounds it. He has been building custom WordPress themes from scratch for small to large businesses around the world ever since. He enjoys building relationships with businesses and agencies to help them bring their digital and graphic design ideas to life! When he isn’t working / freelancing he enjoys traveling, photography, and spending quality time with his fiancé Derek and their French Bulldog Elvis

So, when it became clear that we needed some new fresh eyes to look at our merchandise, Wayne stepped up and volunteered his time and talent to Free Mom Hugs. He did not change our original Billboard Shirt as that is the one everyone wears, but he did think creatively. Here is a bit about his creative process. “People like to wear empowering statements on their shirts. Something they believe in and stand up for. I took a few ideas I noticed from Sara and then also came up with the concept of “free hugger” (my personal favorite concept.) With these designs, the bear and the url for FreeMomHugs.org would be secondary graphics incorporated in with the words as a complete graphic.”

And here are our newest designs thanks to the tremendous work from Wayne.