Why a children’s story hour is drawing protesters at Nazareth’s library
The event sponsor is what caught April Gabriel-Ferretti’s eye.
This group and events sponsored by the group have no place in the Nazareth area, Gabriel-Ferretti said. Moms for Liberty wants to ban books that tackle issues of race and human sexuality, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Gabriel-Ferretti said folks who want to ban books shouldn’t be welcome in a haven for books.
“We cannot deny use of space to any organization because we, or members of the public, may disagree with (the group’s) ideas and positions,” Fodera said. “Moms for Liberty has met all criteria for the use of the meeting space. To deny them access could have a chilling effect on (other) organizations.”
The national Moms for Liberty website says its mission is “to organize, educate and empower parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government.”
Moms for Liberty uses multiple social media platforms “to target teachers and school officials, advocate for the abolition of the Department of Education, advance a conspiracy propaganda, and spread hateful imagery and rhetoric against the LGBTQ community,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
There’s a recurring theme that the Moms for Liberty movement is misunderstood.
“I heard that someone in our community is spreading lies that Moms for Liberty is taking people’s rights away,” said a post from Sept. 25. “What?! Anyone who believes that doesn’t understand where our rights come from and doesn’t know the difference between a right and a privilege.”
If the local group shares the same anti-inclusion beliefs as the national group, it has no place in the Nazareth area, according to Jessica Dieck. She’s the secretary of the Nazareth / Lehigh Valley chapter of PFLAG. (In 2014, the organization changed its namefrom “Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays” to, simply, PFLAG.)
Lydia Rose moved to Nazareth a few months ago. She’s a transgender woman who says she and her girlfriend, who is also transgender, were drawn to the quaint, small town. Still, they don’t feel completely at ease here.
“It’s scary,” Rose admitted.
Gabriel-Ferretti said Rose and other transgender individuals have a right to be comfortable in their own skin, to live and interact in the community the same as anyone else. Moms for Liberty doesn’t share that belief, she said. The library board ought to take a stand against groups that think that way, she said.
“This goes beyond politics. We’re talking about a public space where everyone should be welcome,” Gabriel-Ferretti said.
It’s not easy to find a public notice with information about the controversial story hour. Fodera confirmed it’s happening, although it’s not listed on the library’s website. Nor is it publicly listed on the Moms for Liberty of Northampton County Facebook page.
“People assume that because you’re transgender, you’re an awful person. There’s more to me than that,” Rose said.
“It’s very weird to go from being a hero to basically being treated like an enemy,” she said.
“Our plan is to peacefully assemble, to demonstrate our opposition not only to Moms for Liberty, but to the library’s policy that fails to keep groups like Moms For Liberty from using its space,” she said.