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EDITORIAL: Thank moms of all colors, shapes and sizes

By: The Gazette editorial board
May 13, 2018 Updated: May 14, 2018 at 6:43 am
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Americans celebrate Mother's Day less than a month past the death of Barbara Bush, the matriarch of a family that produced two presidents and the former Florida governor. Whether one supported any Bush in office, most credit the wife and mother Barbara for her family's dynastic success.

All humans have moms to thank for civilized society, especially here in Colorado. Our history is full of mothers who achieved, inspired others to succeed, or both.

Coloradans celebrate Mother's Day in the home state of the U.S. Supreme Court's newest Justice, Neil Gorsuch. Long before he became a household name, Gorsuch was the son of former Colorado state Rep. Ann Gorsuch.

Appointed to the presidential cabinet by Ronald Reagan, mother Gorsuch was the first woman to serve as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. A successful Denver-based lawyer and politician, Ann Gorsuch inspired her son to respect and study the law.

"She was smart, she was intense, she had a great sense of humor and she was a terrific person to have a beer with or have a chat with," said Jim Lyons, a veteran Colorado attorney, as quoted by The Denver Post in 2017.

Colorado can thank the guidance of mother Melisia Warren, who inspired Justina Ford to break racial and gender barriers in the 1890s. Ford become Colorado's first African-American female physician, even as Colorado forbade black people from working in hospitals or joining the state medical association.

"Justina's love for medicine was clear at a young age; she often dissected frogs and followed her mother, a nurse, when she saw patients," explains HistoryOfColorado.org.

Following her mother's lead, Ford set up a medical practice in her home. She learned multiple languages to serve patients who could not communicate with other health care providers.

A look at the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame reveals a long list of women who advanced society by bringing up kids or building on examples of their mothers.

Inductee and Colorado attorney Mary Ann Kerwin is the mother of nine. Kerwin co-founded the Le Leche League in 1956 to battle a common form of discrimination against moms.

Kerwin's 50-year civil rights crusade culminated in a 2004 Colorado law that allows a mother to breastfeed a child "any place she has a right to be." Her crusade led to similar laws in nearly every state and the District of Columbia.

Deceased Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, a former Denver resident, was the mother of two. We know nothing of her hands-on parenting skills, but the Israeli newspaper Haaretz remembers her as the mature mother of a religious culture. It describes her as "the strong-willed, straight-talking, grey-bunned grandmother of the Jewish People."

Colorado pioneer and former slave Clara Brown had four children as a young mother in Kentucky, when slave traders broke the family apart. Brown was freed more than 20 years later, at age 56, and the law forced her to leave Kentucky. She settled in the Colorado mountain town of Central City.

Working as a laundress, cook, and midwife, Brown invested in mines and other mountain properties in and around Central City. She used investment gains to travel throughout the country searching for the children she lost to slavery. During the mostly futile search, Brown helped at least 16 unrelated slaves escape to Colorado. At age 82, she found one daughter and grandchild before dying three years later.

Nothing can be more challenging, productive, or rewarding than parenting. Without mothers, children cannot exist and humanity has no future.

Most mothers are not famous and won't show up in museums. For every well-known mom, millions quietly dedicate themselves, in love, to ensure future productivity and social civility.

Moms come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. They are high school dropouts and Ph.Ds. They double as homemakers, garbage collectors, cops, teachers, doctors, lawyers, soldiers, scientists and more. Regardless of careers, they play dramatic roles in shaping society's future.

Today and beyond, we should thank mothers for our lives.

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