Moms in ‘liberty’ group fight school mask mandates as COVID spikes in schools
Florida Phoenix | By Laura Cassels | August 24, 2021
In navy T-shirts emblazoned with “Moms for Liberty” in white lettering, a vocal group of mothers has dominated public comments at recent Florida school board meetings, condemning face masks as dangerous to children.
As heated discussions continue over mask mandates at schools, the question is, who are these mothers?
At the top, they are political strategists, risk managers and communications professionals — high-powered women with connections to top state and national Republicans, according to LinkedIn profiles and local media reports.
Their followers have been among unruly crowds, disrupting school board sessions on mask mandates and yelling at board members. School board chairs have recessed discussions and cleared the room of hecklers, according to live broadcasts of board hearings.
Thus far, the group of moms have been unable to fend off adoption of mask mandates by eight large school districts. Those are the school boards of Alachua, Broward, Miami-Dade, Leon, Hillsborough, Palm Beach, Sarasota and most recently Duval.
But Moms For Liberty has 15 chapters in Florida counties, the most of any one state. Its website says its mission is to “stoke the fires of Liberty” and “fight for the survival of America” by organizing parents into activist groups.
Nearly half the states in the nation have at least one chapter, according to the group’s website.
In Florida, the organization’s private Facebook groups claim to have 1,885 members in Brevard County, 579 in Volusia, and 481 in Sarasota County. Many other chapter have more than 100 members.
The conservative activist group was incorporated in December, with one sitting school board member and two former school board members from Florida, according to the Florida Division of Corporations. Its members have appeared at most, if not all, school board meetings last week and Monday to condemn mask mandates as illegal and a threat to freedom.
According to commentary on its site and news reports, members of the group have expressed opposition not only to mask mandates, but vaccine mandates, LGBTQ-friendly policies, teacher unions, government bureaucracy and the teaching of curriculum broadly referred to as critical race theory, including discussions related to historical slavery and segregation. (Florida has disallowed critical race theory in the state’s public school curriculum.)
Here are some of the leaders of the Moms for Liberty group:
The Northeast Florida chapter co-chair is a Republican strategist who has been featured on Fox News. She is Quisha King, who worked for the Republican National Committee in 2020 as a regional engagement organizer for Black Voices For Trump, according to the Federalist Papers website.
One of the three original founders of Moms For Liberty is Sarasota County School Board member Bridget Ziegler, according to the Division of Corporations. Ziegler’s name was removed from the roster of directors in February. She was interviewed on Fox News on June 10.
Ziegler, whose LinkedIn profile says she is a risk-management consultant, is a Republican precinct committeewoman in Sarasota County and a supporter of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who she praised on Fox as a “great governor” whose positions have made the state “Freedom Florida.” She also is married to Christian Ziegler, vice-chair of the Republican Party of Florida.
Another founder of Moms For Liberty is Tina Descovich, a communications and marketing professional, and former member of the Brevard County School Board. She was defeated in 2020 by Democrat Jennifer Jenkins, a speech pathologist and educator who champions COVID restrictions in schools.
The third founder is Tiffany Justice, a former member of the Indian River County School Board who championed a failed lawsuit challenging mask mandates last school year.
Listed in corporate filings as a director since February is Marie Rogerson, a candidate for Republican State Committeewoman in 2020.