TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A group calling themselves Moms for Liberty held its first ever national summit in Tampa on Friday.

The organizers said the gathering is to address what they say is an attack on parental rights in education.

Moms for Liberty began in January 2021 because moms in Brevard County were upset over school mask mandates. 19 months later, the organization said it has grown to 200 chapters in 38 states with 100,000 members.

On Friday morning, 500 members gathered at the Tampa Marriott Water Street to attend the Moms for Liberty ‘Joyful Warriors National Summit.’

“We have drawn a very clear line in the sand that says our school system is for educating kids not indoctrinating kids,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The crowd gave the governor a standing ovation for what he said he’s done to protect freedom and children in Florida. DeSantis walked through the action he’s taken– including keeping schools open during the pandemic, signing into law the ‘parents bill of rights’, curriculum transparency and the ‘stop woke’ act. He also mentioned the backlash he’s faced and the lawsuit from the teacher’s union.

“All I’m doing is trying to defend parents I’m trying to stand for a good education,” First Lady Casey DeSantis said. “When you want to get something done, you go to the mamas.”

Some of the Moms for Liberty members said they are taking action by running for local school board positions. Gov DeSantis said he has endorsed those candidates.

“Somebody was talking about it being political,” said Casey DeSantis. “It’s not political. It’s about principal.”

“Parents have a fundamental role in the education of their kids,” said Gov. DeSantis. “They have an important role a vital role and we have to ensure in the state of Florida to not just talk to talk with parents’ rights, but to walk the walk with parents’ rights.”

Moms for Liberty said the national organization is gaining momentum, especially in Florida.
“We’re a battleground state. Everything major as far as parental rights and education is happening here,” said Jessica Graham, Chapter Chair of Moms for Liberty Hillsborough County.

The summit will continue through the weekend with Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and former U.S. Secretary Betsy DeVos expected to speak on Saturday.