MotherTongues: Wear Words, Celebrate Cultures

about words, languages, cultures, travel

First MotherTongues press release :-) October 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 12:18 pm
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Contact: Michelle Hamman

Phone: (616) 405-3817



Local businesses to support American Cancer Society
New Sisu t-shirt speaks about courageous women surviving cancer

Holland, MI – Two local businesses, MotherTongues T-shirts and The Bridge, are collaborating to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. It all started around a t-shirt.

Have you survived cancer, fought depression, gone through a divorce, or struggled through a difficult patch in your life? Then you need to be acquainted with the Finnish word Sisu (pronounced see-soo). Sisu can roughly be translated into English as determination, perseverance, tenacity, or “to have guts”.

Michelle Hamman, owner of MotherTongues T-shirts, and Lisa Gidlow Moriarty (, from Stillwater, MN, collaborated to design a Sisu t-shirt and tote bag to portray this inspiring word. The design incorporates the Dancing Woman Labyrinth, created by Lisa in response to her mother’s death to cancer and her own cancer survival. The Dancing Woman knows grief, she bears the tears and celebrates the days of joy and survival. She is a symbol of women’s strength and compassion.

“I love how Mother Tongues celebrates unity in diversity by selecting and honoring particular words from a variety of cultures, words that can’t be translated without losing their meaning, words that have something to do with community, justice, living well,” says Kim Douglas, a MotherTongues customer. “We can all wear or carry words that connect us to one another, that help us to celebrate the beautiful diversity of our amazing planet.”

MotherTongues will donate $1 of every Sisu t-shirt or tote bag sold, to the American Cancer Society. The Bridge, a Fair Trade store in downtown Holland, will donate 20% of their sales on Monday October 26th to the American Cancer Society. It will be open 10 am-8.30 pm with refreshments served for this special event. All MotherTongues apparel is available at The Bridge on 8th Street in Holland, as well as online at


MotherTongues offers a line of t-shirts and related clothing that seek to cultivate cultural understanding, the building of community, and mindful living. Printed on the clothing are words from various cultures that encourage spiritual growth (zen), nonviolence (satyagraha), justice (shalom/salam), healthy relationships (ubuntu; himdag; gezellig; abrazo; philotimo; sisu), and ecological and environmental mindfulness (dadirri; lagom). Since the words used have no direct English equivalents, poetic descriptions of the words are printed on the products. All MotherTongues t-shirts, bags, and aprons are printed on 100% organic cotton made with Fair Trade principles. For more information, please visit

The Bridge volunteers, all cancer survivors, in Sisu t-shirts

The Bridge volunteers, all cancer survivors, in Sisu t-shirts


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