Hundreds of women gathered in Tampa on Friday for a conference by the conservative group Moms For Liberty.
Many have gotten involved during the pandemic, protesting mask mandates. Now they have a new goal – to seek to end the so-called “woke” ideology in the schools.
Gov. Ron DeSantis was the keynote speaker in the ballroom at the Tampa Marriott Water Street Hotel and spoke about the need to vote Conservative in school board races in August. He said he has backed around 25 candidates so far.
“So what we’re looking to do is really help candidates who are walking, who have strong values who are going to be there for parents and put students first, and shine a light on that,” DeSantis said.
He also expressed his support for parents who are calling for the books to be banned from school libraries.
“Some of these libraries, you’ll have these elementary colleges — and really just explicit and just not appropriate, and so parents need to be able to know that to be able to file objections,” the governor said.
Moms for Liberty co-founder Tiffany Justice spoke about politics and advocacy for parental rights in education.
“2022 is the year of parents,” Justice told a cheering crowd. “And moms and dads are the real political party in America, aren’t they?”
This was a theme for the nearly 500 participants from across the country at the three-day conference.
Jennifer Dunn, the sister of one of the group’s founders, sells navy “Moms for Liberty” T-shirts and bags. She says she has two children in public schools in Brevard County and got involved with the group in 2021 while protesting mask-wearing during the pandemic.
“What’s important to me is the next program,” Dunn said. “I think it’s really about getting in there and having access to what our kids are learning and having a say.”
Ruth Swanson came from Miami, where she said she was a substitute teacher at a private school. She has no children, but is an active speaker against the education policies the Florida legislature passed during this year’s session.
“Right now we’re tackling things like CRT (critical race theory) and parental rights in schools and asking school boards to respect parental rights,” Swanson said.
Breakout sessions focused on how to challenge schools on issues of gender ideology and how to present to school boards.
The conference runs until Sunday.
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