Maryland Parental Power Summit Inspires and Educates

June 7, 2024

On Monday, a coalition that included RFI, national and local nonprofit groups, and churches convened the first annual Parental Power Summit in Baltimore, Maryland. The event was aimed at educating Maryland parents about their rights and giving them resources to exercise and protect those rights. 

The Summit featured a diverse lineup of speakers, including experts in education, healthcare, law, and advocacy. About two hundred participants – mostly Maryland-area parents and families – learned practical strategies for navigating legal and social challenges, advocating for their rights, and fostering resilient families and communities.

Along with RFI, institutions that partnered to produce the Summit included the Maryland Family Institute, Alliance Defending Freedom, Coalition of Virtue, and Marylanders for Health Not Harm.

Among the speakers was Ismail Royer, RFI’s Director of Islam and Religious Freedom. Royer told the story of his own experience as the parent of a public school student, which personally motivated him to join the fight for parental rights and religious freedom in Montgomery County, Maryland. He is a leader in the area’s campaign to restore the right of parents to opt out of instruction that seeks to change elementary students’ views on marriage, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

“It’s not the job of a public school, it’s not the job of teachers, to indoctrinate children into anything,” Royer argued. He said that when it comes to values,

Public schools have one legitimate thing that they can teach children and that is citizenship…and that is to want for others what we want for ourselves. That is what citizenship boils down to. I want for others what I want for myself and I should treat others with the respect that is due to them as human beings. That is what citizenship is all about, and to work for the common good. But beyond that, it is not their job to teach children values – it is the job of parents.

Other speakers at the event included Father Ed Meeks, a Catholic priest and the founding pastor of Christ the King Church in Towson, Maryland; Jeffrey S. Trimbath, President of the Maryland Family Institute; Sameerah Munshi, Executive Director of the Coalition of Virtue; and Kit Hart, Chair of the Carroll County, Maryland Chapter of Moms for Liberty. Several parents, teachers, and candidates for public office also addressed the crowd.

Organizers of the Summit are planning more events in Maryland, and are offering support to other communities who wish to organize their own parental rights summits in their local areas.

RFI has been at the forefront of the parental rights struggle, particularly where it intersects with religious freedom. Over the last year, RFI has worked to equip parents facing these challenges in Montgomery County and St. Louis Park, Minnesota. RFI has also filed several friend of the court briefs defending the rights of parents in federal and state courts in recent months.

Watch video of the event below: