#SayNiceThings about your Mom with #TeamShinola

BY Taylor Rebhan

The Gail is our latest women’s timepiece, built and named in honor of Emily T Gail, the founder of the 1970s Detroit movement “Say nice things about Detroit.” In the 70s and 80s as people across the country had taken to bad mouthing Detroit, Emily created the ultimate word-of-mouth movement to not only combat negative perceptions of the city, but promote a renewed sense of pride in its residents. Her idea rings true today, across the country, there’s never been a better time to say nice things. 

We were inspired by Emily’s movement and asked members of #TeamShinola to “say nice things” about their moms for Mother’s Day. We asked the question: ‘What is one nice thing you’d like to share about your mom?’ and then asked for a photo too. We hope you read the stories below and are encouraged to say nice things about both your own town and the woman who raised you. 

Pooja Kamani


“If there’s one thing my mom has taught me, it is to take a step back and enjoy life — she has taught me to immerse myself in every experience and take time to enjoy the moment. This picture (below) is 5 years old but one of my favorites, capturing us doing just that after pulling over to pick some mangos fresh off a tree in Hawaii.”



Katherine Chapman


“My mom taught me the power of selfless, unconditional love. She absorbs all of our worries, and by doing that she makes us instantly feel better. The pride she beams when we accomplish anything makes the achievement so much sweeter. There has never been a life event I didn’t want to share with her first. Everyone should have someone who loves them and likes them, flaws and all.”



Michael Matthews


“The thing that sticks with me about my mother is her ability to lead, love, protect and provide. I remember as a college freshman, I stopped going to class second semester after being an honor student the first. I was making really bad decisions in life at that time. I lost my scholarships and she asked what was I going to do. I told her that I was going to drop out and just get a job. She said, ‘So you’re giving up? What’s your excuse? I work 40 hours a week, go to school, stay on the Dean’s List and still come home to take care of you. You’re gonna get a job alright. You’re gonna get a job to pay for school yourself. You have no excuse for not graduating.’ That talk was exactly what I needed. I did exactly what she said and we graduated college together at the same time. Thank you for always being a woman of faith and instilling those principles in me.”



Alicia Long


“One thing my mom has taught me is to take the path unpaved, march to the beat of your own drum, and don’t ever be afraid to be you; even if that means you’re different. In that, she has been one of my biggest supporters in every crazy idea I’ve had. (I’ve had plenty) She might not always agree, but she is always supportive. I’m lucky in that whatever road I choose to take, I never feel alone because I can always count on my mom. She is the glue that holds my family together with her selfless love.”



Gokce Turkozu


“My mom and I are the best team possible. During elementary and high school years, my mom and I used to do everything together. One can easily say we grew up together. When I moved to Canada in 2005, I think I missed our time together more than I missed anything else about home. We only spend 15 days together every couple years, but we are still going strong. I am who I am because she pushes me to be a better me everyday. She taught me everything in life. We proudly talk everyday. She is the first person I call when something happens in my life. I love that she taught me the importance of being self-sufficient and strong. She never gave up hope and she never gave up on people. We are fixers as she would say.”



Cora Alexander


“My mother always told me that when I am scared of a challenge to remind myself, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ She left early from this world, but she remains inside of me forever. I miss her saying, ‘I have the most beautiful daughter in the world.’ My mom always wanted me to love my imperfections and embrace who I am.”



Kelly Kerby


“My mom taught me that if you’re going to be anything, be yourself. Be weird and learn to laugh at yourself. Work hard, but love what you’re doing. Travel, and travel often. My mom has taught me that there are beautiful things everywhere and in everyone. This year, she’ll be running her first marathon, the Detroit Free Press marathon. Go after what you want and you can accomplish anything. Basically, my mom rocks.”



Dextina Booker


“My mom is the strongest person I know. She is a tough lady, but she also has this love for her family and is able to extend that to strangers without skipping a beat. She is generous. She is quick witted. She is lightening. She encourages me to be myself. She keeps me grounded. She gave me the nerve to think I can be anything I want. And even though it scares her, because she worries like nobody’s business, she pushes me to reach the corners of the Earth, and to see everything the world has to offer. My mom is the source of my strength. She is the reason for my curiosity. My mom is pure 24 karat magic.”



Steven Welborn


“I grew up playing sports including baseball and football. My mom is my biggest supporter and was always the loudest mom in the stands rooting me on. She never missed one practice or any games. She’s very dedicated to our family and will do anything for anyone in need. My mom taught me to be passionate and not afraid to express my emotions. I’m thankful for my mom and proud to be her son.”


Laura Schaller


“This is my mom (in photo below), holding my new little brother, while I (in the center) celebrate my fifth birthday. She always made me a special cake, and my birthdays were great fun. She also made all of our Halloween costumes. I don’t know how she found the time with four kids, while working nights as a nurse so she could take care of us during the day. I admire her strength, creativity and dedication to her family. At times in my life when I wanted to give up, I drew on that strength.”


Learn more about the “Say nice things about Detroit” Movement

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