FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL—The parental rights group Moms for Liberty has invested in extra security for its annual summit in Philadelphia later this week after facing threats following the Southern Poverty Law Center’s decision to place Moms for Liberty on its “hate map” with Ku Klux Klan chapters.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center has put a target on the back of every mom that wants to stand up and speak out on behalf of her child and we take that very seriously so we have invested in extra security,” Tina Descovich, a Florida school board member who co-founded Moms for Liberty, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview Tuesday.
“We have received numerous threats,” she noted, without specifying if they appeared to be serious. “We receive threats all the time and forward them to appropriate law enforcement.”
The Philadelphia Police Department told The Daily Signal it is not aware of any reported threats ahead of the summit.
The summit, which runs June 29-July 2, will feature numerous Republican presidential candidates, including former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and Vivek Ramaswamy. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Democrat, recently canceled his plans to speak at the summit.
The threats come weeks after the Southern Poverty Law Center, a left-leaning organization that gained a reputation suing Klan groups into bankruptcy during the 1980s, put Moms for Liberty on its “hate map” alongside Klan chapters.
As I wrote in my book “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the SPLC has weaponized its history by transforming its Klanwatch program into an Intelligence Project that brands mainstream conservative and Christian organizations “hate groups,” adding them to the “hate map.”
In 2012, a terrorist used the “hate map” to target the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. for a mass shooting. A security guard foiled his attempt, but the shooter told the FBI he intended to kill everyone in the building. He pleaded guilty to terror charges and is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence. An SPLC lawyer is also facing domestic terrorism charges for his involvement in an Atlanta riot in March.
The SPLC branded Moms for Liberty an “antigovernment extremist group,” describing it as part of an “anti-student inclusion movement.” The SPLC, which promotes critical race theory through its Learning for Justice program, opposes Moms for Liberty’s opposition to lessons that encourage children to see white people as oppressors and black people as oppressed. The SPLC also promotes transgender lessons for children, another cause Moms for Liberty opposes.
After the SPLC added Moms for Liberty to the “hate map,” many on the Left launched a pressure campaign to convince Marriott and the Museum of the American Revolution to cancel their events for the summit.
Pennsylvania State Sen. Nikil Saval, a Democrat, wrote a letter to the museum’s president and CEO, R. Scott Stephenson, urging the museum to cancel the Moms for Liberty event scheduled for Thursday.
“Moms for Liberty, put plainly, is a hate group,” Saval wrote, joined by five other state senators. He cited the SPLC’s attack on the organization and noted the SPLC’s previous comparison between parental rights groups like Moms for Liberty and the “Uptown Klans” that supported segregation in the 1950s.
“Moms for Liberty, as a far-right extremist group with strong ties to high-ranking elected officials and national anti-LGBTQ groups, formed for the explicit purpose of promoting hateful ideology in our public schools, exists in opposition to the stated mission of the museum and its values of integrity, empathy, and stewardship and sustainability,” Saval charged.
Descovich slammed the letter as “anti-democratic.”
“I think it’s very concerning whenever leftist representatives want to use their power they have obtained from the people to silence the people,” she said.
A current employee at the museum has also launched a pressure campaign, accusing Moms for Liberty of trying “to erase LGBTQ+ and Black history” and urging people to call the museum using a call script she posted on Facebook.
The American Historical Association also sent a letter urging the museum to cancel. The association accused Moms for Liberty of attempting “to silence and harass teachers,” and claimed the organization’s “mission is to obstruct the professional responsibilities of historians.”
Museum stands firm
The museum has stood by its contract with Moms for Liberty, however.
“The Museum of the American Revolution strives to create an inclusive and accessible museum experience for visitors with a wide range of viewpoints and beliefs,” the museum told The Daily Signal. “Consistent with this mission, we make available after-hours and private rentals to groups that organize legally and safely, including federally recognized 501c4 nonprofit organizations. Because fostering understanding within a democratic society is so central to our mission, rejecting visitors on the basis of ideology would in fact be antithetical to our purpose.”
The museum added that leadership cares about making sure “staff know they are heard, valued, and safe.” The museum pledged to accommodate staff who “do not agree with the museum’s private booking.”
Similarly, Marriott has stood by its contract with Moms for Liberty despite a Change.org petition urging the hotel chain to cancel. The petition has garnered more than 28,000 signatures.
Descovich also mentioned that protesters have scheduled activities for every day of the summit. She also said organizations are “busing in people from other states” to gin up large protest crowds.
“I think it shows integrity on the part of the museum that they are keeping their commitment and the contract that they signed with us,” she told The Daily Signal.
“We are very excited” for the summit, Descovich added, speaking from the hotel in Philadelphia. She said Moms for Liberty is expecting 650 attendees, with moms “flying in from all over the country to advocate for parental rights.”
“Everything we are going to do over the three days of the summit is going to disprove what the Southern Poverty Law Center has said about our moms,” she added. “The Southern Poverty Law Center is claiming that we are anti-government yet we worked to get 275 members elected to school boards across the country, to local government.”
“We are not anti-government. We are anti-woke indoctrination,” Descovich declared. “The Southern Poverty Law Center is using their power and their name to destroy their political enemies.”
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