FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL—A Republican candidate for the Virginia Senate has responded to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s attack on parental rights groups such as Moms for Liberty by pledging to introduce a Parental Bill of Rights Act in the Legislature should she win election in November.
The SPLC last week added parental rights organizations to its “hate map,” taking a program it launched to monitor the Ku Klux Klan and using it to list parents groups alongside Klan chapters.
The SPLC attack is making concerned parents bolder, Tina Ramirez, president and CEO of the human rights nonprofit Hardwired Global, told The Daily Signal. Ramirez is a Republican candidate for Virginia Senate in District 12, just west of Richmond.
Ramirez compared the SPLC attack to the U.S. Justice Department’s memo urging an investigation of parents after the National School Boards Association sent a letter to President Joe Biden comparing parents to domestic terrorists.
She also compared it to the infamous declaration by former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe in his 2021 campaign to reclaim the governor’s office, when he said: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what to teach.”
Such events infuriated and energized Virginia parents, arguably propelling Republican Glenn Youngkin to the governor’s mansion in 2021.
“In the same way that Biden’s DOJ labeling us terrorists and Terry McAuliffe’s anti-parent rhetoric were the flashpoints to the massive parents’ movement we saw in 2021, the SPLC’s derisive and absurd attacks have only made me and the moms I’m fighting with bolder,” Ramirez told The Daily Signal. “My friends leading organizations like Moms for America, Army of Parents, and No Left Turn in Education all feel the same way.”
“That’s why I am announcing that when I am in the Virginia Senate, I will introduce a Parental Bill of Rights Act to codify the principles we have been fighting for: In Virginia, parents, not bureaucrats, will be at the helm of their children’s education, parents will make the health care decisions for their children, and parents will decide what is age-appropriate and what is objectionable for their children,” she pledged.
Yael Levin, who grew up in Israel and fought in the Israeli Defense Forces but since moved to Virginia, said she supports Ramirez’s plan and agreed that SPLC attacks will embolden parents, not deter them.
Levin, now running as a Republican to represent the Ashland district on the Hanover County Board of Supervisors, formerly worked for No Left Turn in Education and now works at Army of Parents, two parental rights groups that the SPLC added to its “hate map” last week.
“Parents have absolutely been emboldened by the SPLC attacks,” Levin told The Daily Signal. “I’m now more determined than ever to win a seat on the Hanover County Board of Supervisors, where I will be able to appoint a school board member that respects the rights of parents and opposes radical curricula and the SPLC’s so-called ‘Learning for Justice’ program.” (The SPLC program, formerly known as “Teaching Tolerance,” promotes critical race theory and transgender ideology, among other left-wing issues.)
“They can put me on whatever list they want; I won’t stop fighting for our kids,” Levin added.
“I fully support my friend Tina’s plan to pass a Parental Bill of Rights Act in Virginia,” she declared. “From my time with No Left Turn in Education to my work now with Army of Parents and on my campaign for supervisor, Tina’s been there fighting, too, and I look forward to working with her to defend the rights of parents and kids across the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond.”
Elicia Brand, founder and president of Army of Parents, praised Ramirez and Levin for running for office. She also criticized the SPLC for ignoring “actual hate groups” such as the Facebook group Loudoun Love Warriors, which reportedly doxxed and threatened parents who expressed concerns at school board meetings. Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, a Republican, said his office is monitoring Loudoun Love Warriors.
“The dark irony here is that while we are receiving literal death threats from actual hate groups, like Loudoun Love Warriors, and while we’ve been specifically targeted by the federal government merely for standing up for the right of parents to have a voice in their children’s education, we are the type of organization the SPLC attacks for their list,” Brand told The Daily Signal. “It’s infuriating, but Army of Parents will not back down—in fact, just the opposite: This is just fuel for us to fight harder.”
“The work that Army of Parents and the other parent groups is doing is incredibly important and we refuse to be shouted down,” she added. “The same is true for Yael and Tina in their respective political campaigns: It’s crucial that moms like them run for office and are elected so that we can continue to move policy to remove the radical agendas from our schools.”
Moms for America Action, the political action arm of Moms for America (another group on the SPLC’s “hate map”), endorsed Ramirez on Wednesday.
The GOP primary will take place Tuesday. Ramirez is challenging fellow Republican Amanda Chase, a sitting Virginia state senator, in a district rated “safe Republican.” Chase unsuccessfully ran for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2021.
After the 2020 election, Chase called on then-President Donald Trump to impose martial law and reverse the election results. She attended Trump’s rally just south of the White House before the riot erupted at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The Virginia Senate voted 24-9 to censure Chase for her remarks at the rally. Chase sued the Senate and the clerk over the censure, but a court dismissed her lawsuit in May 2021.
Chase also faces a challenge from former state Sen. Glen Sturtevant, who has attempted to brand Ramirez as “woke.” Ramirez has touted her higher fundraising.
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