Moms For Liberty (MFL), recently designated a far-right extremist anti-government group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, will be hosting their four-day National Summit in Philadelphia from June 29 through July 2 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, located at 1201 Market Street.
For months Pennsylvania residents, as well as a variety of local and national advocacy groups, have voiced outrage at the Marriott for hosting the event as well as the Museum of the American Revolution for renting space to MFL for an evening function.
Petitions, phone calls and even correspondence from elected officials were incapable of persuading the Marriott to change their mind.
People from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, D.C., North Carolina, Florida and many more have joined forces to send a message that MFL dogma does not define the people of Philadelphia or the majority of Americans.
A recent press release from People For The American Way (PFAW) announced “Grandparents For Truth,” Philadelphia Groups, to Host Large Scale Action to Protect the Freedom to Learn, Challenge Authoritarianism, and Support Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Diversity in Books.”
Over the last four decades, PFAW has aided neighborhood organizers and individual advocates to promote civic engagement, freedom of expression, impartial courts as well as legal and lived equality for the LGBTQ+ community. The organization has been on the frontlines to combat censorship, voter suppression, and judicial inequity.
“We have a million plus members all over the country, a ton of them are in Philadelphia, and they were calling, especially YEOs – we have a Young Elected Official Network – that has young progressives under the age of 35,” said Svante Myrick, President of PFAW. “There’s 1500 of them across the country that are in our network and a handful in Philadelphia, including Brendan Boyle.”
“They called us a couple of months ago and said, we can’t believe this, but Moms For Liberty is coming here and we think they shouldn’t go unanswered,” Myrick said.
PFAW has been essential to the promotion of groups planning to host rallies and demonstrations at 12th and Market Streets in Philadelphia beginning on June 29, including the group Defense of Democracy (DOD).
It was the ‘Christ Is King’ yard sign promoting a local school board candidate in 2022 that caught Karen Svoboda’s eye. Acting quickly and with donated funds Svoboda purchased ‘Teachers Shouldn’t Be Preachers’ counter signs.
Svoboda, co-founder and CEO of DOD, soon learned that members of MFL were running for school board seats in her district.
“That’s when it got really serious,” Svoboda said. “Now it’s scary because I knew who they were because I was watching Florida over masking and seeing these wild school board meetings where people are being threatened and there’s a police presence.”
Armed with approximately 20 volunteers, the small contingent began strategic messaging on social media.
“This is who is running for your school board. You better get out and vote and that was and that continues to be pretty much our message,” Svoboda said. “We were able to double voter turnout in that election. People who had never gone to vote for school board before voted. We crushed everybody who was running.”
DOD’s mission is to advocate for the civil rights of teachers, librarians, students, parents and all Americans against hate groups. A weekly conference call offers information and training for volunteers across eight states.
The group has chartered two buses to get people to the rally and is hosting a sign making party on June 29 for use at the rally on the 30th.
Other groups participating include Campaign For Our Shared Future, Grandparents For Truth, Red, Wine and Blue, Education Voters of Pennsylvania, Moms Rising, Stop Moms For Liberty, PFLAG, Act Up Philadelphia, and more.
A schedule and the ability to participate in various events may be found HERE.
Trish Norman (they/them/theirs), the Assistant Curator at the Museum of the American Revolution, located at 101 South Third Street, told The Beacon that staff members are very disturbed by the museum hosting the MFL welcome reception on Thursday, June 29 at 7 p.m. It is the convention’s only off-site event.
“The majority of staff is vehemently opposed to this event. I think the effect that this event has on the staff and the community was not fully considered, Norman said. “And I think the fallout from that may be far lasting.”
“Mom’s celebrity is definitely the antithesis to everything the museum is doing,” Norman added. “I think Moms For Liberty is very calculated. They know exactly what they’re doing.”
No staff members have resigned in protest but, Norman said, many are worried about keeping their jobs.
More than half of the museum’s personnel signed a petition to ask the administration to cancel the event.
Norman plans to speak at the demonstration being hosted by Act Up at the museum on Thursday night.
The museum is currently promoting their newest installation, Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia.
“In our new special exhibition Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia, the Museum introduces visitors to Forten and his descendants as they navigated the American Revolution and cross-racial relationships in Philadelphia to become leaders in the abolition movement in the lead-up to the Civil War and the women’s suffrage movement,” is the description provided by the Museum.