Moms for Liberty shift focus from woke curricula to surging crime

With close to 100,000 members across 37 states, grassroots movement founded by two former school board members hopes to play decisive role in a number of statewide elections come November. 

Updated: July 26, 2022 - 11:28pm

A grassroots organization of activist moms founded to fight woke curricula and restrictive COVID-19 policies in the schools is now expanding its focus beyond the classroom to encompass a graver threat to kids: crime.

Founded 18 months ago by two former school board members, Moms for Liberty hosted more than 500 people at its inaugural national summit in Tampa, Fla. in mid-July. With close to 100,000 members across 37 states, the nonprofit has demonstrated its political power when it comes to school boards and local elections.

With a shift in focus from the ideological safety of their children inside the classroom to their physical safety outside it, these motivated moms hope to play a decisive role in a number of statewide elections come November. 

Last year, 78% of American voters said they believe violent crime is a "major problem" in the United States, and most believe it is increasing.

"Parents are the number one driver of students' success, and we have fundamental rights to our children," Moms for Liberty cofounder Tiffany Justice said on a recent episode of the "Just the News, Not Noise" TV show. "American parents are very focused on making sure that schools are safe and that our children are getting what they need."

Recent weeks have illustrated the degree to which children are endangered by surging crime. Beyond the massacres at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas and a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill., a young mother was shot to death in June on Manhattan's Upper East Side as she pushed her newborn in a stroller across the street from a playground where children enjoyed themselves on a summer night.

Several days ago, Black Lives Matter protesters converged on the Minneapolis home of young, single mother Arabella Foss-Yarbrough to protest the police shooting of 20-year-old Tekle Sundberg, who was killed during a standoff with law enforcement after shooting several bullets through Yarbrough's apartment door. She was home preparing dinner for her toddlers at the time.

Yarbrough found herself face-to-face with the protesters gathered in front of her residence to "demand justice" for the armed attacker.

"This is not a George Floyd situation," yelled the anguished mother. "George Floyd was unarmed. This is not OK. [Sundberg] tried to kill me in front of my kids."

With crime skyrocketing across major metropolitan cities and suburbs alike, parents are "very concerned about safety," said Justice.

She recounted a recent incident at a school in California outside of which "there were drug addicts that were shooting up on the street, and these little kids — fourth grade, fifth grade — walking right by them."

Increasingly, concerned parents are focusing their anger on progressive prosecutors — in many cases backed by left-wing megadonor George Soros — perceived as soft-on-crime.

In June, hyper-liberal San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin was ousted by voters in a recall election less than three years after assuming office. Residents of the progressive West Coast city grew tired of aggressive shoplifting, car break-ins, and open-air drug dealing on their streets, all of which heighten anxiety about the safety of children.

One key indicator that Boudin was in trouble was the overwhelming February recall of three members of the city's Board of Education — a body that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic prioritized the renaming of 44 public schools named after historical figures like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln over reopening schools for in-person learning. 

In Los Angeles, residents are mounting a similar campaign to recall progressive District Attorney George Gascon because of permissive arrest and sentencing policies cited as drivers of surging crime.

Gascon's recall is supported by Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami, as well as groups of mothers worried about crime, including those who have lost children to criminal violence.

"George Gascon just doesn't care about victims," Emma Rivas, a board member of the L.A. chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, told Fox News several weeks ago.

Rivas' son, Christopher, was shot and killed at age 25 in 2016. She now regrets voting for the progressive DA in 2020.

"I'm ashamed because I didn't do my research," she said. "I think it's very important, people should realize when a DA runs for office, and he says 'reform' and 'progressive' and 'science and data,' watch out, because he's not for you, he's not for the public."

The L.A. DA is "pro-criminal, and I disagree wholeheartedly with his philosophy," Anna Estevez,  the mother of another victim, told Fox.

"What's happening in L.A. County — I do not wish this to happen to your county, if you still have a county that's civilized," she said. "Do not be fearmongered by thinking differently on how you can change your community and your city."