The City of Brotherly Love Will Greet Moms for Liberty Conference With Demonstrations

Shown is City Hall in Philadelphia, Thursday, May 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

By Sean Kitchen

June 28, 2023

Philadelphia residents and activists get ready for a weekend of actions outside the Moms for Liberty Conference. Events include banned book giveaways, LGBTQ dance parties and more.

A weekend of demonstrations and actions are planned in Center City Philadelphia as the controversial right-wing group Moms for Liberty hosts their second annual conference at the Marriott Hotel. 

Speakers at this weekend’s conference include former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and others. Sponsors of the event include right-wing organizations such as The Goldwater Institute, Freedom Foundation, Pennsylvania Family Institute and Vermillion Education.

Moms for Liberty, best known for pushing book bans, harassing teachers and school board members, and supporting anti-LGBTQ laws, was recently labeled an anti-government extremist organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group is also pushing fringe right-wing candidates for local school board races. 

Backlash against the conference has been simmering for months as local elected officials have asked the hotel to cancel the event. 

State Sen. Nikil Saval (D-Philadelphia) has been a vocal critic of the conference. In April, the senator sent a letter to the Marriott Hotel expressing concern and disappointment and asked them to reconsider hosting the organization.

“Moms for Liberty has been widely recognized for its divisive rhetoric, discriminatory practices, and promotion of harmful policies that target vulnerable communities especially the LGBTQ+ community,” Saval wrote “This organization has a history of spreading misinformation and advocating for discriminatory policies that undermine the values of inclusivity, diversity, and respect for all individuals.”

Demonstrations and actions from progressive and left organizations begin Thursday and run through the weekend. Campaign for Our Shared Future, a non-partisan organization that supports inclusive K-12 education, is kicking things off with a banned book giveaway outside the Marriott Hotel at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday.   

The Museum of the American Revolution, which is hosting a Moms for Liberty reception on Thursday, has also received pushback from elected officials, staffers and historians. All six state senators who represent Philadelphia signed a letter stating “the Museum’s leadership has demonstrated a lack of judgment agreeing to host a hate group,” and asked them to cancel Thursday’s event. 

As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer, close to 40 staffers and seven groups of historians demanded the museum to cancel their reception because of Moms for Liberty’s attacks against the LGBTQ community. 

A spokesperson for the museum defended the museum’s actions in a statement. 

“The museum’s mission is to share diverse and inclusive stories about our nation’s history with the broadest audience possible,” the spokesperson said. “We welcome any opportunity to introduce visitors to these stories. In these polarizing times, our best hope to strengthen democracy is through dialogue. We understand that this can be difficult.” 

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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