WASHINGTON, D.C. — Parents from across the country joined Independent Women’s Network, a nationwide members-only community of women, on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at the “Government Is Not A Co-Parent” Rally to express their frustration with government overreach and government-run schools indoctrinating kids with woke curricula like Critical Race Theory, graphic sexual content, and progressive ideology. The message of the rally, attended by parents across the political spectrum, was simple: let parents make the decisions that they think are best for their kids.

Speakers at the rally included Carrie Lukas, vice president of Independent Women’s Voice; Julie Gunlock, director of Independent Women’s Network; Representatives Virginia Foxx (NC), Diana Harshbarger (TN), Claudia Tenney (NY), Chip Roy, Vicky Hartzler (MO), Jim Banks (IN), and Carol Miller (WV); Nicki Neily, president of Parents Defending Education; Ian Prior, executive director of Fight for Our Schools; Larry O’Connor, host of WMAL’s O’Connor & Company; Stacy Langton, Fairfax County mother; Dr. Katarina Lindley, physician, school board trustee, and Texas mother; Maud Maron, attorney and education advocate; Harry Jackson, Fairfax Thomas Jefferson father; Tiffany Justice, co-founder of Moms for Liberty; Xi Van Fleet, Loudoun County mother; Annetta Catchings, candidate for mayor of Alexandria; Nicole Solas, Rhode Island mother; and Ginny Gentles, senior fellow at Independent Women’s Forum. Senator Marsha Blackburn (TX) submitted a statement to be read on her behalf.

Independent Women’s Voice Vice President Carrie Lukas kicked off the rally. “What’s really most important today is I am a mom of five school-aged kids who are attending public school here in Fairfax County, Virginia, right across the way,” she said. “And clearly, my most important job is to raise my kids to be kind, confident, productive, and patriotic Americans. Those are my values, and my job. It’s not my school board’s job, and it’s certainly not the federal government’s job.”

Julie Gunlock, director of Independent Women’s Network, added “Not all parents have the ability to [pull their kids out of public school], which is why I’m fighting for better public schools. But it’s more than just schools, I’m fighting for a fairer and freer country.” 

Congressman Chip Roy (TX) also spoke about the importance of giving parents more control over their children’s education. “This pandemic has obviously harmed a lot of people in many respects,” he said. “The government’s response may have harmed more people than the actual pandemic. But importantly, one thing that we’ve gotten out of this is the veil has been lifted on a corrupt education system teaching our children that America is evil. And that couldn’t be more important for the future of this country and the health of our republic and the health of our democracy.”

Loudoun County mother Xi Van Fleet added, “I am an immigrant from China. I spent my entire school years in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. I can tell you what it was like when the government became the parent of school children because I was one of them… Here’s my warning to American parents: the radical Left wants to be more than just co-parents to our children, they want to be THE parents of our children… No, we are not going to give up our parents to the government.”

Nicole Solas, a stay-at-home mom from Rhode Island, said, “There’s only one way to fight back against that, and that’s with school choice legislation. School choice legislation is the answer to public school tyranny. Push for it in your states. School choice funds students, not systems.”

Ian Prior, Executive Director of Fight for Schools, also spoke at the rally. “ One of the lessons that we learned from [the pandemic]…  is that it’s not about Republican versus Democrat or Independent. It’s about us. It’s about us engaging in our representative democracy.” He added, “And what we need to make sure of with our education system is that we are building future leaders. We are making intelligent human beings that are skillful, compassionate, that treat everyone the way they want to be treated and that are mentally tough.” 

The rally ended with the following statement from Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

“When we look back at the Biden presidency, I have a feeling we’ll see a theme: every single thing this administration has tried to do depended on the government forcing itself where it does not belong – between business owners and their customers, between patients and their doctors, parents and their kids. What’s worse is all of these scenarios have something else in common, in every case bureaucratic activists in charge use the full force of government to try to intimidate the people into silence….there’s something we understand that these entrenched bureaucrats never will: the government is not a co-parent.” 

To watch the full rally, click HERE.  



Independent Women’s Network, a project of Independent Women’s Voice, in partnership with Independent Women’s Forum, is a private community for women to come together to inspire, interact, influence, and have impact.


Independent Women’s Voice fights for women by expanding support for policy solutions that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance freedom, opportunities, and well-being.