An anti-fascist Pride event was held outside the Marriott hotel in downtown Philadelphia June 2, to tell the fascist group “Moms for Liberty” (M4L) that they are not welcome here. Moms for Liberty plans to hold a summit at the hotel from June 29-July 2. This was the second protest to date in Philadelphia outside the Marriott, where demonstrators called on the hotel chain to refuse to rent space to the racist and transphobic group.
Over a hundred protesters turned out in what organizers called the first Pride month event in Philadelphia. Tyrell Brown, newly elected Executive Director of Galaei, was among the speakers. The Queer and Trans, Black, Indigenous and people of color radical social-justice organization is the host of the 2023 Philly Pride March on June 4. Trans activist Jazmyn Henderson, with ACT-UP, chaired the rally and led chants.
As demonstrators chanted outside the Marriott, several people came out of the hotel and stayed to listen to speakers and talk with protesters, who are asking people to call (215) 625-2900 and tell the Marriott: “Stop hosting hate!”
M4L, founded in Florida in 2021, has gained notoriety through its platform of encouraging the banning of books featuring and written by LGBTQ2S+ and people of color. Their roots stem from efforts to harass and replace school board members who allowed gender-affirming policies for students.
The group has strong ties with the GOP in Florida and groups including the Heritage Foundation and Heritage Action for America, the right-wing evangelical Council for National Policy, the Leadership Institute and other far-right organizations.
The group held its first summit in 2022 at the Marriott in Tampa, Florida, where Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was a featured speaker. The invited speakers list for the 2023 Philadelphia event — including GOP 2024 presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy — exposes the neofascist nature of the program.
M4L has announced plans to protest at libraries in the city, but counterdemonstrations are being planned. Many public libraries plan to hold Pride events while the convention is taking place.