Moms for Liberty came to the Upper East Side. Protesters may have outnumbered guests.

Moms for Liberty came to the Upper East Side. Protesters may have outnumbered guests.

Protesters may have outnumbered participants in Moms for Liberty’s Thursday night town hall on the Upper East Side.

The right-wing organization’s event, which according to organizers was sold out, attracted ire from politicians and parent activists across the city. As about 100 people rallied outside toting signs reading “Mom against fascism,” “Queer people have kids too,” and “Read banned books,” many of the speakers on the panel rehashed national issues like the influence of teachers unions, the teaching of anti-racism and “gender ideology,” and school choice.

Several speakers stood before the crowd of about 75 people and took digs at New York City’s class size mandate, its cap on charter schools, and its high spending and low rates of reading proficiency.

Moms for Liberty bills itself as a “parents rights” group. It was founded in Florida in 2021 and quickly made national headlines for its calls to restrict access to gender-affirming care for transgender youth and block LGBTQ-focused books and curriculum, as well as limit lessons about race.

The organization has swiftly made inroads across the country, raising $2.1 million in 2022 from the conservative Heritage Foundation and Republican donors, after raising just $370,000 the year before, according to the Associated Press. The organization has become influential in GOP politics and recently started a chapter in Queens.

It was named an “extremist” group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its divisive tactics and efforts to undermine public education.

The question-and-answer session after the panel turned fiery. Several parents and teachers challenged the panelists on culturally responsive education, their views on transgender children, and what specific curriculum proposals they recommended to boost reading scores.

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