They are referred to by their supporters as a group of “joyful warriors” opposed to co-parenting with the government.
However, critics label them an extremist faction that challenges inclusivity in educational institutions. This divergence in perspective has not deterred aspiring Republican presidential candidates from considering the group as a potentially vital ally in securing the 2024 nomination.
The organization recognized for leading the conservative wave to challenge books discussing race and gender identity and propelling right-wing individuals into local school boards across the country is preparing to host an important event featuring Republican presidential primary hopefuls.
Notable presidential candidates to speak at event in June
The annual Moms for Liberty summit, set to occur later this month in Philadelphia, will have at least four renowned figures delivering speeches.
Prominent personalities such as former President Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, previous U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and biotech businessman and renowned “anti-woke” advocate Vivek Ramaswamy have confirmed their participation as speakers in this late-June event.
Plans are also underway to invite other high-profile personalities, such as Senator Tim Scott and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., with the group’s popularity highlighting the salience of debates surrounding gender and race among Republican voters.
Republican party partnering with ‘Mom’s for Liberty’
Equally, it underscores the Republican Party’s readiness to align with an organization known for promoting anti-LGBTQ+ ideas and purging diverse content from libraries and classrooms.
A trio of past and present members of the Florida School board
Moms for Liberty was established in 2021 by Tiffany Justice, Tina Descovich, and Bridget Ziegler. This trio, all past and present members of the Florida school board, founded the organization as a response to student mask and quarantine policies during the pandemic.
‘Mom’s for Liberty’ has been expanding rapidly
Despite being merely two years old, the organization has expanded impressively to establish 285 chapters across 44 states, boasting an active membership of 120,000 people, according to Justice.
The organization’s remit extends beyond mere activism in local school districts; it also encompasses efforts to censure books it deems “anti-American” or inappropriate, to exclude teachings on sexual orientation and gender identity, to insist that teachers reveal students’ pronouns to parents, and to eliminate diversity, equity, and inclusion programs from schools.
Group labeled an ‘anti-government extremist’ group
Despite the group’s activism, it continues to face serious accusations. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a renowned entity that monitors hate and extremism nationwide, has classified Moms for Liberty as an “anti-government extremist” group.
This label was attributed in its all recent annual report, alongside 11 other groups that it says exploit the concept of parents’ rights to undermine public education and create less inclusive environments for minority and LGBTQ+ students.
Despite the backlash, the organization has continued its operations unabated. A cadre of local entities advocating for inclusive education has started mobilizing against Moms for Liberty and is petitioning Marriott to cancel the upcoming conference.
‘Mom’s for liberty’ staring down the barrel of protests
In response, the Defense of Democracy, a New York-based organization established to counter Moms for Liberty, plans to protest at the event physically.
“They’re so loud and so aggressive that people are kind of scared into silence,” Defense of Democracy founder Karen Svoboda said of Moms for Liberty. “You know, if you see bigotry and homophobia, there is a civic responsibility to speak out against it.”
Maurice Cunningham, an observer of the group’s growth, sees these reactions as predictable in the current political climate.
Being labeled an extremist is ‘almost a badge of honor’
Within the GOP, he noted, being labeled an “extremist” is “almost a badge of honor.” Capitalizing on this sentiment, Moms for Liberty has launched a fundraising campaign. Following the SPLC report’s publication, Justice disclosed that the group had rapidly amassed $45,000, an amount a more prominent donor has agreed to match.
In conclusion, despite their controversial tactics and the backlash they’ve received, Moms for Liberty has positioned itself as a substantial force within GOP politics.