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Moms for Liberty Leadership poses with Proud Boys and flashes “White Power” sign

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UPDATE 11/14/23 12:10PM: Hamilton County Moms for Liberty Chair Tonya Dodd sitting next to Proud Boys’ Bobby Bean while wearing his Proud Boys hat. Tonya posted the photo herself of their first chapter meeting on their Moms for Liberty Facebook page. There seems to be an ongoing trend of Proud Boys members posing with Moms for Liberty Chapter Chairs in official photos while wearing Proud Boys attire.

UPDATE 11/14/23 10:35AM: Moms for Liberty just responded to our article with a statement. It should be noted that in the photos with the Proud Boys, there were additional members from Moms for Liberty posing that were not the Chapter Chairs. We are awaiting a comment on the status of their membership, but they blocked us from their Twitter. As of the posting of this statement, the Chapter Chairs are still listed as such on the Moms for Liberty website.

Moms for Liberty, which this year was classified as an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is making headlines again with another labeled hate group, The Proud Boys. Earlier this year, a Moms for Liberty Chapter received international criticism for quoting Hitler on the front page of it’s official newsletter.

This time, several members of Moms for Liberty in Kentucky, and at least two of is County Chapter Chairs in Kentucky, posted photos of themselves posing with a Kentucky Chapter of The Proud Boys. Also in the photos, some of the members are flashing what is known to most as the “white power” symbol.

We reached out to the Chapter Chairs as well as the co-founders of Moms for Liberty for comment.

Mirna Eads, who spoke at the event in question, was very open with us. The event was called the “Protect The Children Nationwide Rally.” During her speech, she spoke about the Moms for Liberty organization, challenged the classification as an extremist group, and defended the notion that they don’t “ban books.”

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(Mirna Eads (Left) Campbell County Chair and Karen Strayer (Right), Boone County Moms for Liberty Chapter Chair)

Proud Boys

The Proud Boys is an exclusively male North American far-rightneo-fascist militant organization that promotes and engages in political violence. On December 12, 2020, Ashbury United Methodist Church, the oldest historically black church in Washington, D.C., was targeted by Enrique Tarrio and the Proud Boys after pro-Trump protests earlier that day. They flashed the same white supremacist hand signs pictured above and tore down and burned a Black Lives Matter sign that had been raised by the church.

(Leader of the Proud Boys Enrique Tarrio, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for seditious conspiracy, the longest handed to a January 6 offender.)

In an interview with C-Span, Moms for Liberty Co-founder Tina Descovich addressed the grouping of Moms for Liberty and the Proud Boys. “”I would like for someone to point to anyone within our organization meeting with the Proud Boys.”

We asked Mirna her directly about the photo with the Proud Boys. She stated:

“We posed with them because we had a goal in common: raising awareness of the dangers that lurk around our children and that we were both labeled as hate groups by the SPLC.

2. We are not affiliated nor has Moms for Liberty ever been affiliated with the proud boys. 

3.  Save the children rally was about protecting children from sex trafficking and pornography that is flooding our schools.

4. The proud boys that were present were a group of “Papa Bears” who had one goal to preserve America by protecting children.

In my own opinion- I do not see the proud boys as the insurrectionists of Jan 6. I believe that what occurred on Jan 6 was an inside job orchestrated by Nancy Pelosi and Antifa. President Trump gave a peaceful speech and was still talking when a few agitators went into the capital.”

We asked her if she had any concerns about the Proud Boys and if she was a supporter of them.

“I have no concerns about what I know of them. I think the media has portrayed them negatively. The group of men who showed up at the state capital on Nov 4th were a group of PAPA BEARS who were focused on protecting children from sex trafficking and getting pornography out of schools.

The Southern Poverty Law Centers list of hate groups is FALSE. Moms for Liberty has a defamation lawsuit against them.

To call those who defend and stand up for parental rights and fight to protect children from being indoctrinated and protect them from body mutilations a hate group is just wrong. Anyone who spreads that misinformation should be ashamed.”

This isn’t the first time Moms for Liberty has had to defend themselves against affiliation claims with the Proud Boys. When Moms for Liberty co-founder Bridget Ziegler won her election for school board in Sarasota, Florida, she infamously posed with 30-year-old Nicholas Radovich, who showed up in a Proud Boys hat and T-shirt and 50-year-old fellow Proud Boy John Hoel. people crowded around Radovich did not seem bothered by his Proud Boys attire. They did not seem to notice that he was flashing a white power hand signal.

When the photo went viral, Ziegler, whose husband is the Chair of the Republican Party of Florida issued a statement: “The Proud Boys are a menace,” she said. “They aren’t involved in the work and they played no part in the win, but they attend public events and try to photo bomb every photo just to secure attention and headlines.”

The Kentucky Moms for Liberty leadership clearly sees the Proud Boys in a different light.

Liz Mikitarian, founder of Stop Moms for Liberty responded to the photos. She stated, ““We are continuing  to collect examples of the connection between MFL members and the Proud Boys .  We are very concerned that a group professing to be about keeping children safe is opening associating with a group instrumental in the Jan 6th attempted overthrow of our country. “

According to their Facebook page with over 13k members, Stop Moms for Liberty is a national group that is designed to pull together the groups across this nation who are fighting against the takeover of our public school system by Moms for Liberty. 

White Power Signal

When we asked Mirna about the sign that Boone County Chapter Chair Karen Strayer was displaying in the photo commonly known as the “white power” sign she stated:

“That is the 3% Patriot Symbol. The 3%ers: a group of patriots. The group advocates gun ownership rights The name derives from the active forces in the field against the King’s tyranny never amounted to more than 3% of the colonists” during the American Revolution.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League, Three Percenters (also known as 3%ers, III%ers, and Threepers) are anti-government extremists who are part of the militia movement. They compare their hostility to the federal government with the opposition of American patriots to the British during the American Revolution.  The term itself is a reference to a false belief that the number of Americans  who fought against the British during the Revolutionary War amounted to only three percent of the population at the time (historians say that percentage was actually far higher).  

Banned Books

Mirna repeated in her speech a claim often repeated by Moms for Liberty at all levels; “we don’t ban books!” We challenged that claim with her.

She stated: “The only thing that should be taught in schools are Reading, Writing, Math and Science and History all of it regardless of age should be non political, age appropriate and 100% transparent. Today, I can’t go into a school’s website and see what science curriculum is being taught. I am only told the topic. Why is that? Also, the word “ban” needs to stop being used. Moms for Liberty doesn’t ban anything. We challenge books or curriculum and based on the evidence we present the school board decides whether to remove it or not.”

We asked her if she would say that drinking was banned from school, and what is the definition of the word ban.

“Drinking is prohibited on school grounds because it is not age appropriate. To ban something means that you can’t get it anywhere. You can’t buy it, you can’t sell it.”

We followed up with What would be an example of something that is banned under that definition?

“Well in America I don’t think we ban anything. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. Whereas in other countries somethings are truly banned and if caught with these items you would go to prison.”

When we look up the dictionary definition of ban, it says “to legally or officially prohibit.” Earlier you said that drinking in school is prohibited. Would it not be correct to then say that by definition, to officially and legally prohibit drinking in school, is to ban it?

She stated, “So I feel as if you are just trying to twist words here. We both know that definitions of words have changed over the years- look at the words Gay meaning happy and fag meaning a cigarette. To me the word ban means that you can’t buy, sell or receive those goods unless you go to the black market.”

We responded, “I apologize, Im not trying to twist anything, im just reading the definition from the dictionary. Those words you listed have multiple definitions in the dictionary to reflect how those things have changed or evolved. The word ban reflects what I just stated above. So when you say, it means to you that you can’t get it anywhere except the black market, where do you get that meaning from? Or for example if a teacher says “you are banned from using your calculators on this math test.” Aren’t they just prohibiting them “officially” from doing it? Which is the definition of ban? I think most people would agree that is a true statement.”

She said, “I see your point however, just because people use words incorrectly why is it that only the right conservatives are held to a different standard of that word. Moms for Liberty gets blamed ALL THE TIME for “banning books” in schools. Yet all we have done was challenged them. Based on our evidence the schools have chose to remove certain books because of the graphic sexual content.”

We ended it with, “I understand your frustration, but I also understand the confusion. I think when you say that we are prohibiting a classroom or a library from carrying a certain book, then you are officially or legally prohibiting it. Which is word for word the definition of ban. So I think that’s what people mean when they say you are banning books. I understand completely your rationale for wanting to do it, but I also think it is what it is. Can they get the book elsewhere? Sure. They can also get alcohol at home too. But it’s still prohibited at school.”

The conversation with Mirna in its entirety is below.

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