LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) — A lobbying group led by the chair of the Livingston County Republican Party has been declared an extremist organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Moms for Liberty is one of a handful of organizations saying they stand for parental rights that were recently named to a long list of extremist organizations compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit civil rights organization that tracks hate groups.
Jennifer Smith, chair of the Livingston County GOP, is also chair of the Livingston County chapter of Moms for Liberty, according to the local GOP website.
SPLC tracks more than 1,600 extremist groups across the United States, from the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis to fundamentalist religious organizations.
According to SPLC, Moms for Liberty chapter members “combat what they consider the ‘woke indoctrination’ of children by advocating for book bans in school libraries and endorsing candidates for public office that align with the group’s views.”
“Over the past two years, reactionary anti-student inclusion groups have been popping up from coast to coast, claiming to battle for parents’ rights. Just like their predecessors, their rhetoric takes on marked anti-LGBTQ, racist and nationalist themes, excluding from their parental concern large demographic segments of American society,” wrote Maya Henson Carey in an article on SPLC’s website.
Moms for Liberty was founded in 2021 by former Florida school board members Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich, as well as current Sarasota County school board member Bridget Ziegler.
The organization arose from protests against COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates and other pandemic-era public health restrictions.
Moms for Liberty says it empowers parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government, according to its website.
According to Moms for Liberty’s “parent pledge,” their mission is to “advance policies that strengthen parental involvement and decision-making, increase transparency, defend against government overreach, and secure parental rights at all levels of government.”