Controversial education advocacy group is encouraging Atlantans to get involved in local politicsGeorgia residents listen to Moms for Liberty co-founder Tina Discovich and former U.S. Senator Kelly Leoffler speak at a Gwinnett County town hall on Nov. 13. (Juma Sei/WABE)
By Juma Sei | WABE
Earlier this month, Wykeisha Howe left her home in southwest Atlanta to attend a town hall in Gwinnett County hosted by the group Moms for Liberty.
Moms for Liberty is a parents’ rights organization founded by some women in Florida who were upset about COVID-19 safety measures.
Since then, the group has expanded its agenda to undercut inclusive curriculum that centers race and gender identity. In some Florida school districts, they have even gotten books banned from classrooms.
Howe said that she had heard of Moms for Liberty’s conservative reputation before, but she wanted to come check things out for herself. She is a self-described “PTA mom” and is no stranger to getting involved.
She was also looking for answers.
“I’m tired of seeing our third graders not reading on grade level,” she said. “I’m tired of seeing our babies graduate but we know they did not get that full 12 years of education that they really deserved.”
Howe and a friend saw that one of their local legislators — Rep. Mesha Mainor, a recent Republican convert from Georgia’s Democratic Party — would be speaking at the town hall. So they made the trek.
“We came an hour away, just to talk and get some support for our babies in the city of Atlanta,” Howe said.
Mainor was not the only local politician who spoke at the town hall.
Former U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler was also in attendance. She spoke directly to Moms for Liberty co-founder Tina Descovich before answering a handful of questions from the audience.
Republican State Senators Clint Dixon and Greg Dolezal later joined Representatives Mainor and Scott Hilton for a discussion with Descovich.
After their panel, Howe asked Descovich and the Georgia politicians how she and her friend could get involved.
“We’re tired of what we’re seeing in our city,” she told the group. “I want to be very honest about that.”
“There is power in numbers,” Mainor responded. “And you have an organization called Moms for Liberty that has a lot more resources than the two of you… They are looking for chapters to open and why not do a Moms for Liberty in Atlanta? I will help support it.”
Descovich double-downed on Mainor’s recommendation, adding that Howe should run for her local school board.
“You have to become a community organizer,” Descovich continued. “It’s important that people like you get involved, stay informed and run.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled Moms for Liberty an extremist group in its annual Year in Hate & Extremism report for 2022. The report compared Moms for Liberty to pro-segregationist parent groups that formed after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954, according to NPR.
Decaturish media partner WABE provided this story.