Tampa Bay moms group looking to disband from national organization after anti-discrimination message

Hillsborough County

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — International MOMS Club, a 37-year-old nonprofit organization aimed at supporting stay-at-home mothers, is in hot water after several of its members claim they refused to post an anti-discrimination message to their Facebook page

According to Jadie Heberlein, president of the MOMS Club of Westchase, the International MOMS Club has been posting collages submitted by other chapters in support of health care workers and teachers for weeks.

Heberlein explains to WFLA.com that the trouble began when the Rancho Santa Margarita chapter in California submitted a collage of their children holding homemade signs calling for an end to racial discrimination. 

Heberlein claims the organization refused to post it to their Facebook page, which currently has over 20,000 members.  

“We were contacted by a different MOMS Club chapter to let us know that they had been part of a group of moms who wanted to support basically an anti-racism message. They created a collage for Facebook that said that ‘racism will end with our children, we stand against racism,’” said Heberlein. “Initially, the MOMS Club said they were going to post the collage but then they turned around and said that they couldn’t because it was political. They said as a nonprofit, they were unable to post that.” 

Heberlein claims MOMS Club Support sent an email to its members following the backlash they received over their stance.  

“We’re just in a time of tremendous turmoil and trauma to people of color in our country. I think it’s important for all organizations who want to have a message of inclusivity, to stand up and speak out against racism right now,” said Heberlein. 

Several MOMS Club chapters, including the MOMS Club of Westchase, have now decided to disband from the organization. 

“We basically took a look at the bylaws that have been around for a long time with MOMS Club and they’ve been considered to be – by our chapter – sexist, out of date and old fashioned,” Heberlein said. “Now, with the MOMS Club refusing to issue an apology or allow this post to go forward, we just feel that we can’t be associated with that nonprofit anymore. We’re a group that wants to be inclusive of all moms and that’s the most important part for us.”

Heberlein wrote a letter to International MOMS Club founder Mary James and expressed her disappointment. Coincidentally, a Change.org petition is also circulating and calling for James’ resignation and removal from the organization.

MOMS Club of Westchase

Moving forward, Heberlein tells WFLA.com the MOMS Club of Westchase will continue but aim to be more inclusive. 

“We’re hoping to just basically continue on as we have been functioning but as a group that’s inclusive of all moms, not just stay-at-home moms anymore. But moms that are working moms that don’t have husbands, maybe moms that are lesbian or single or widowed or not just moms, but all parents,” she said. “We would like to be more inclusive, supporting all people who are raising children in the Westchase community.” 

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