A Conversation With 6000 Moms’ Founder
What inspired you to found 6000 Moms?
I founded 6000 Moms in June of 2018 by accident, to be honest. My cousin had posted an article about how our government was separating children from their parents at our Southern border, and I just kind of lost my mind in rage and grief for those families. I could not imagine what would become of me if I had fled my country for the safety of my family, only to arrive at the place I thought would offer that safety, and instead, to have my daughters taken away from me. It’s unfathomable.
In a moment of anguish, I reached out to the Wheaton Moms Facebook group and asked if anyone else was as upset as I was. I knew there were about 6000 members in that group at the time, many of whom would feel the same way, and it seemed to me a group with 6000 mothers in it ought to be able to make enough noise to actually do something about what was happening to those poor families.
Within minutes, hundreds of moms who felt just like I did had responded. I knew that was not the place for an ongoing discussion of the issue, though. Not knowing what else to do, I grabbed screenshots of the names of all the women who had responded and quickly created a new Facebook group, inviting those women so we could continue the discussion. I couldn’t think of a name so I just called it “6000 Moms,” planning to change it later, but it stuck, and ended up being extraordinarily prescient of our future mission.
Within just a few days, there were 2500 women in the group. That number has now grown to over 4000. Our goal has been to comprehensively support immigrant families that come into our care, in all the ways needed to make new lives for themselves — support they are not getting from our country.
What challenges and successes have you faced along your way?
One of the biggest challenges is that our government tells people they can legally seek asylum, but they can’t work while doing so – and if they DO work and get “caught,” it could negatively impact their asylum cases. So what are these poor families to do? How do they eat? Pay rent? Pay their expensive legal fees? They are supposed to find “sponsors” who agree to meet all their expenses… how often do you think that happens? Rarely. We don’t have any moms in our group who can completely support whole families. So we spend a lot of time helping these families come up with creative ways to meet their needs.
Housing is a huge challenge. If you want to rent an apartment in the US, you need a Social Security number, proof of income, and a credit history. Asylum seeking families do not have those things. The entire system is designed to make them give up and leave. We have had to find creative ways to get safe roofs over our families’ heads. If you can believe it, one member of 6000 Moms and her husband purchased a home, just so they could rent it very cheaply to one of our single moms who has a little girl and whose entire family was murdered by the cartel in Honduras. This young mom didn’t have to produce papers she didn’t have yet, because she could rent from a family who already loved and trusted her.
Raising funds is another challenge. For each family or person seeking asylum, we are looking at a $10,000 price tag just for the legal services of a good immigration attorney. It’s not easy to come up with these sums. We have also had to raise upfront a full year’s rent for a family, so that a 6000 Moms member could co-sign their rental lease, knowing there was money to back up the monthly payments, in case the family was suddenly deported.
We have successfully put a young woman from the Congo through college. We have housed (or are currently housing) 6 families. With some amazing attorneys on our side, two of our families have won the asylum cases we funded for them — those are HUGE victories! We’ve also paid in full two other asylum cases that haven’t been assigned court dates yet. We’ve bought or been given several cars for our families. We’ve paid off medical bills. We’ve collected and given away clothing, food, furniture, household goods, toys, etc. There is so much, I can’t possibly list it all here.
MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL (and I really stress this): we have offered TRUE friendship, community and “belonging” to our families. These families are not our “projects” — they are our neighbors and friends. We welcome them into our lives and share meals, outings, holidays and more with them, just as we share these things with our own families.
What has helped you to succeed?
I would attribute our success so far to three main factors:
- The families themselves are committed to the incredibly hard work of saving their families by creating new lives here in the States. I cannot stress enough the courage they display and the intensely difficult process they commit to, to make that happen. It is nothing short of awe inspiring to witness. It has made us all better people: more compassionate, more aware and more grateful for our own unearned privileges – and more determined to share those privileges with others who, through no fault of their own, are less fortunate.
- We also have an AMAZING board of 8 women who work well together and have a shared vision: we made a commitment to view our families through the eyes and hearts of mothers, doing for them what we would do (or want done) for our own children and family members. This is the model followed by every woman in this group, and I think it is what makes us unique.
- Last (but not least): one of the main reasons we’ve succeeded so far is that we are currently 4000+ moms strong, and when women rise up and decide to accomplish something together, they are a force to contend with, and in general, pretty unstoppable. We get things done, quite often at breakneck speed.
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539 Roosevelt Rd. #1053
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137