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WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s office was the scene of a dramatic protest on Thursday morning as Black and Brown parents attempted to raise awareness about their opposition to HR5, the Republican-proposed “Parent Bill of Rights.” 

Despite these objections, HR5 was passed in the House with only a few Republican defectors. Hours before the vote, the National Parents Union, a group of mostly Black and Brown parents, staged a protest inside House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s office, demanding that HR5 be voted down. The group gathered to make their voices heard and to protest the bill, which they say is an attack on minority parents’ rights, targets trans-youth and doesn’t address America’s ongoing school-shooting epidemic. 

Shortly after being denied a meeting with the House Speaker, who claims the Republicans are the party of parents, the concerned group caravaned over to the grounds of the Capitol and held a press conference, voicing their opposition to HR5 ‘Parents Bill of Rights’. 

“It’s hard for us to feed our children right now, hold on to our housing, many of our children are suffering from a mental health crisis. Yesterday, I was standing in this office watching another school shooting in Denver, Colorado. And there is nothing in this bill that talks about or addresses school safety,” Keri Rodrigues Langan, president of the National Parents Union, stated.

Black, Brown Parents Storm Kevin McCarthy’s Office before HR5 Vote, National Parents Union Parents Bill of Rights
The National Parents Union holds press conference ahead of HR5 vote, the Republican’s purposed ‘Parent Bill of Rights’. Thursday, March 23, 2023 | Photo by Josh Stewart with Education Post

The passionate group of 75 parents from across the country tirelessly lobbied every single member of the House, transcending party lines to fight against the controversial legislation. Their hard work paid off, garnering the support of 5 Republicans and 203 Democrats who stood with them against HR5.

“I look around this chamber, and I’d think that, arguably, I’ve spent more time in a classroom than anyone in this chamber. I was a classroom teacher for 15 years ran before and after-school programs and summer programs. I lead programs for parent engagement. I’m also the mother of four children, one of them as a public school student right now, as a teacher and a parent,” Rep. Jahana Hayes stated on the House floor.

“This politics over parents legislation creates unnecessary reporting requirements in our schools and diverts resources. I am a parent. And this bill actually removes my rights as a parent at the local level and places them in the hands of Congress,” she said, adding, “They’re saying they want to correct curriculum, diverse books, teachers who are prepared and for all students, not just some.”

There were a few Democratic representatives who were MIA during the voting of the HR5 ‘Parent Bill of Rights.’ Notably absent were Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep. Joaquin Castro, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Rep. Jim Costa, Rep. Henry Cuellar, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rep. Robin Kelly, Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez, and Rep. Jared Moskowitz.

Rep. Joaquin Castro was unable to cast his vote against H.R. 5 due to his ongoing recovery from surgery but opposes the legislation. According to Rep. Robin Kelly’s communication director, she is unable to travel for a few weeks due to a medical incident.

The Black Wall Street Times reached out to the 10 House Democrats who were absent during the vote and will keep you updated on any responses we receive. On the exception of Rep. Castro having surgery, it’s unclear why the other Democratic House members couldn’t make it to the important vote, but it’s a good reminder that every vote counts.

Nehemiah D. Frank is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Black Wall Street Times and a descendant of two families that survived the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Although his publication’s store and newsroom...