WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, America First Legal (AFL) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) annual “Year in Hate and Extremism.” The report targeted what they call the “anti-government movement,” which included national parents’ rights organizations like Moms for Liberty and Parents Defending Education.
These groups and others flagged by the SPLC, including Parents Against Critical Theory, Army of Parents, and Virginia Parents Involved in Education, stand up for parental rights in the classroom and against extremist teachings like Critical Race Theory and highly-sexualized books in the library that seek to indoctrinate children.
In listing these parents’ rights groups as part of the anti-government movement, the SPLC claimed that they are part of an “anti-student inclusion movement that targets any inclusive curriculum that contains discussions of race, discrimination and LGBTQ identities.” The result of SPLC targeting parents’ groups as part of its report has been an overwhelming rise in threats to members of those groups, putting them in fear for their lives, their careers, and their reputations.
The vicious and chilling attacks on the First Amendment rights of parents advocating for their children is a dangerous precedent that has only grown since the Biden Administration colluded with the National School Board Association and Attorney General Garland issued his October 4, 2021 memo requesting that the FBI open federal investigations into parents speaking at school board meetings. It is extremely concerning that the Biden Administration has met with SPLC officials at least eleven times during his administration.
Given these events and the necessity of American citizens to be able to exercise their First Amendment rights to advocate for their familial rights without government interference, it is imperative for the public to understand the extent of the Department of Justice’s relationship with the SPLC, specifically in relation to the inclusion of parent groups on the SPLC’s 2022 “Year in Hate and Extremism” report. America First Legal will not cease its investigation until the public has full clarity.
Statement from Ian Prior, America First Legal Senior Advisor:
“The Southern Poverty Law Center’s decision to label parent-centered advocacy organizations as ‘anti-government’ hate groups is a frightening continuation of a trend to chill First Amendment rights; a trend that began when Attorney General Garland ordered U.S. Attorneys and the FBI to investigate parents speaking out at local school board meetings. Given the close relationship between the Biden Administration and the SPLC, it is imperative that the public is made aware of any involvement in this blatant attempt by the SPLC to harass and intimidate parents opposed to its radical agenda for America’s children.” said Ian Prior.
Read the FOIA here.
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