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Groups warn against the spread of extremism

Monday, Sep 26, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From the Awake Illinois website

These folks are quite something


"Please know you are not alone, and not only are you not alone, you have an entire tribe standing by you."

Good things ahead! #AwakeIllinois

Posted by Awake Illinois on Friday, September 23, 2022

* Anyway, the school board candidate training was met by a protest…

Saturday morning parents from an array of suburban school districts along with representatives of state and local advocacy organizations, including Equality Illinois, ADL Midwest, Illinois Families for Public Schools, and more, gathered out front of the Marriott Courtyard hotel in Des Plaines to share their stories of how extremism is seeping into the public sphere—whether it be at school board meetings, public libraries, bakeries that support LGBTQ+ rights, and more.

Inside the Marriott, a school board candidate training took place sponsored by the anti-equity, anti-equality groups Moms for Liberty and Awake Illinois. Posing as concerned parent groups, these organizations have made calls to action against LGBTQ+ friendly events, harassed school board members and school staff, mounted opposition to a diverse and rich history curriculum that reflects all students, called for book bans, and more.

Opposition to diversity, equity and inclusion programs and support for civil rights protections for transgender and non-gender conforming youth in public schools has emerged around Illinois in recent years. Then in the summer of 2021, parents and others virulently opposing covid mitigation measures in schools began organizing to disrupt school boards and harass and threaten board members. They then pivoted to attacks on “Critical Race Theory”, a term erroneously used to characterize schools teaching accurate and honest history that addresses racial injustice in the US. In 2022, the focus of their attacks has been to spread transphobia and homophobia via book bans and attempts to exclude and eliminate protections and support for LGBTQ+ students. “We are here today in solidarity with parents, with teachers, with youth and our partners to call out the hate and intimidation and to tell LGBTQ+ Illinoisans, and particularly youth, that you belong, that you matter, that you are beautiful, that you are exactly who you are meant to be, and that we are grateful that you are in the world,“ said Mony Ruiz-Velasco, Deputy Director of Equality Illinois. “LGBTQ+ people deserve the same rights, same treatment and respect as our straight and cisgender allies. We are here because we will not let these hate groups control our narratives, our families or our ability to see ourselves reflected in our schools and our libraries,” added Ruiz-Velasco.

Parent of four, Asafonie Obed of District 204 (Indian Prairie) contacted after the event, said, “I encountered the founder of Awake Illinois, a fellow-parent at my children’s school, when she told me to start a charter school if I wanted diversity, equity and inclusion practices and a social justice framework at District 204. I was flabbergasted. And then I helped organize our community so she would not have a seat at the important school board table, where policies impacting my children are made.” (You can see Obed’s video of her story here. She was unable to attend in person due to family illness.)

In Downers Grove, students and parents defeated an attempt to ban Gender Queer. School board meetings were attended by members of the Proud Boys hate group, there to intimidate the students who were speaking out for the basic right to see themselves reflected in books in the school library. Downers Grove parent Kylie Spahn said, “It’s not always an easy battle, but it is winnable if you are organized. Due to being outspoken, I was attacked verbally at meetings, and my employer was called by someone a number of times who claimed I was a groomer and shouldn’t be around kids.”

In District 200, Wheaton parent Shannon Limjuco has witnessed how these anti-equality groups have reacted to pushback over the last year, saying “They continually model the worst bullying behavior possible for all of our children. I’ve seen them target and harass in person and online, school board members, administrators, teachers, and even parents who speak out against them.“ The message shared by all the parents was that organizing has worked thus far, and that it is more important than ever to stay focused on these races and vote in them next spring. Some coalition groups will be doing their own school board trainings to ensure Illinois schools are inclusive, child-centered and welcoming to all families and students.

More here and here.

* Doesn’t look like many people attended, but a couple of dozen candidates is nothing to sneeze at

* Meanwhile, the organizer of a protest against UpRising Bakery handed out this flier on Saturday…


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21 Comments
  1. - 44 - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 12:26 pm:

    “Quite something”. could say the same about the protest group. One of them I know all about, and she is a total whack job. I’ll bet the rest are as well. Going to be tough going for the CPS elected board if only extreme left and right candidates run.


  2. - JS Mill - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 12:30 pm:

    “Leadership Institute” seems to be a bit of a stretch.


  3. - /s - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 12:35 pm:

    ==Are we just labeling any opposition of teaching graphic sex ed to 5-10 year olds as “homophobic” and “transphobic”?==

    We are if by “graphic sex ed” you mean “acknowledging that LGBTQ+ people exist”. Otherwise, show your work as to what you think constitutes “graphic sex ed”, because I’ve read the updated standards, and I’ll hazard a guess that you haven’t.


  4. - P. - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 12:36 pm:

    The protest group isn’t trying to ban books, accuse people of being “groomers,” marginalize groups of people based on gender or sexuality, attack teachers but sure one of the protestors is a “whack” job.


  5. - DEE - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 12:38 pm:

    I’m reading American Psychosis by David Corn right now. It is like a frightening history book of the origins of ‘these folks’ and a blueprint for their M.O.


  6. - Jerry - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 12:43 pm:

    What a sad, sad state of affairs and they really think they’re owning the libs!


  7. - TheInvisibleMan - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 12:43 pm:

    As many people as possible should be attending their local school board and library board meetings if they can. This is probably starting to show up in your area too.

    Even Park District meetings are getting a bit concerning around these parts. SW suburbs.


  8. - Norseman - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 12:53 pm:

    JS Mill, I think of you and other educators every time I read about these extremists. The extremists are not interested in educating kids to become critical thinkers and responsible community members. They’re interested in creating unquestioning followers of their belief systems with basic competencies for economic purposes.


  9. - JS Mill - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 12:55 pm:

    =As many people as possible should be attending their local school board and library board meetings if they can. This is probably starting to show up in your area too.=

    If people showed up they would learn how utterly boring and mundane these meetings are, completely without conspiracy.

    Unfortunately no one ever comes unless sports are involved.


  10. - OneMan - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 1:00 pm:

    ==If people showed up they would learn how utterly boring and mundane these meetings are, completely without conspiracy. ==

    Nearly 30 years ago, when I lived in Naperville there was a big deal about the library having Playboy and there was big library board meeting and I went. I even spoke (didn’t see what the big deal was, it wasn’t like it was out, you had to ask for it) there were a ton of people speaking including Rob Sherman and a real estate agent who said it would hurt Naperville property values (that’s how you scare someone in Naperville).

    After that vote was over, everyone left but me. They asked why I stayed and I said I should stick around for the boring part too…

    The rest of it was very boring.


  11. - illini - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 1:08 pm:

    When Mary Miller made her famous “Hitler was right” speech was that rally not sponsored by Moms For Liberty? If I am mistaken I’m certain that this would be the kind of group that she would relish being apart of.


  12. - ArchPundit - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 1:12 pm:

    ===Unfortunately no one ever comes unless sports are involved.

    Also why many run for the Board. Sigh.


  13. - JS Mill - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 1:34 pm:

    Thanks Norseman, much appreciated.

    It was not always the case, but these days it is nearly a total monopoly by the right on creating crazy for schools and other public bodies.

    =They’re interested in creating unquestioning followers of their belief systems with basic competencies for economic purposes.=

    They keep talking about indoctrination and that makes me chuckle, not a happy chuckle, more like gallows laughter. Why? Because I know it is confession by accusation.


  14. - TheInvisibleMan - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 1:43 pm:

    –was that rally not sponsored by Moms For Liberty–

    That was sponsored by Moms for America. The person who introduced Miller onto the stage was a current Will County board member and vice president of Moms for America.

    There’s a lot of crossover between both groups though.


  15. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 1:48 pm:

    ==As many people as possible should be attending their local school board and library board meetings if they can. This is probably starting to show up in your area too.==

    Responsible folks need to not just show up at a meeting or two, but to run for those board seats. Yes, it takes time, but each of these boards fills an important role in the community. When responsible people fail to run for those seats, the irresponsible end up running the show. One term turned into four terms (16 years) on my local school board. Service is a wonderful and rewarding way to give back to the community. It was stressful at times, but overall, it was a great experience, and I was glad to be on the board when controversies arose.


  16. - Suburban Mom - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 2:33 pm:

    ===”They continually model the worst bullying behavior possible for all of our children. I’ve seen them target and harass in person and online, school board members, administrators, teachers, and even parents who speak out against them.”===

    This is so, so true. It’s been a nightmare for teachers — long-time, dedicated teachers in wealthy suburban districts who are well-compensated, leaving their jobs because of the relentless bullying by some of these people. Who are an extreme minority in my community — they ran a slate and were resoundingly defeated — but feel perfectly free to harass teachers at home and on weekends. They’re awful.

    I cannot even remember what the triggering event for this was, but some time last year a national half-mast flag day fell on a Sunday, and one of these bullies who was part of the effort to put bigots on our local school board made up a story about a young marine in full dress uniform wandering our small suburb (very lost from Great Lakes, and not in proper uniform, I guess?) saying he had graduated from the local high school in X year and was super-sad that the flag at the local elementary school wasn’t flying half-mast because clearly local schools didn’t love America. (In fact schools don’t typically fly the flag on weekends, nor do they leave the flag up overnight.)

    Not only had nobody in that graduating class entered the military, and nobody but the woman complete inventing the story had seen this full-dress marine loitering outside a schoolyard on a busy street, but she managed to rally a bunch of like-minded bullies to harass the elementary school principal AT HOME (she posted his number) until the man came in on a Sunday to put the flag up at half mast, and then had to come back and take it down. They were sharing pictures of his home.

    There was no point to it except to be nasty to perceived “enemies” in the local elementary school staff, and I suppose to get imaginary internet points for being The Most Patriotic by not knowing the flag code and hallucinating marines into existence.


  17. - thechampaignlife - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 3:14 pm:

    ===Unfortunately no one ever comes unless sports are involved.===

    This is its own cult-like phenomenon that I cannot wrap my mind around: helicopter parents living vicariously through the primping of their overscheduled, media-saturated progeny in artificial gladiator games. While there are some positives attributes of sports, such as physical fitness and teamwork, they do not make up for the harm from injuries, abuse, stress, anxieties, and socializing us-versus-them classism. That we dedicate so much time and funding towards athletics, at the expense of programs which promote responsible, participating citizenship; development of character; ethical leadership; and conservation and service, is a missed opportunity to invest in a better future.

    While we fight over book bans and recognition of who someone loves, we need to also call out the industrialized sports complex contributing to an unhealthy, adversarial society.


  18. - Save Ferris - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 3:24 pm:

    “Declare Christ’s Authority.”

    L’shana tova.


  19. - Demoralized - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 3:51 pm:

    ==compassion for sex workers and people with gender and sexual confusion==

    I wasn’t aware that a Drag Queen was a sex worker. And by using the term confusion this person - while claiming compassion - is insulting the LGBTQ+ community. They say they don’t have hate but that’s exactly what they are portraying by using this language. I think they might want to practice the good ole “mind your own business” principle. If you don’t like it then don’t go. Otherwise keep your nose out of it.


  20. - On the other hand - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 5:47 pm:

    Please check out the “resistance” to the Niles-Maine Library District Board of Trustees sometime soon. Some of the board members want to eliminate waste and reduce spending. Their opponents are carrying on as opposition to higher taxes is the first step to totalitarianism. The tactics being used border upon being lunatic fringe insanity.


  21. - G'Kar - Monday, Sep 26, 22 @ 9:15 pm:

    I was on my local, small town, library board for 24 years. Only once did someone show up for a meeting. The most controversial item we ever discussed was what prizes to give out for the summer reading program.


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