The parent who got a Florida school to ban Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem has ties to the far-right Proud Boys and conservative firebrands Moms For Liberty, The Daily Beast has confirmed.
The links, first highlighted by the Miami Against Fascism Twitter account, follow an exposé about Florida mother Daily Salinas at miami herald. In an interview with HeraldSalinas said “it’s not about eliminating or censoring any books,” but he wants the materials to be adequate and for students to “know the truth” about Cuba.
Salinas’ complaints prompted a Florida school to restrict access to The hill we climbed, a book adaptation of the poem Gorman recited at President Joe Biden’s inauguration. The Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes, Florida has also won two other titles—The ABC’s of Black HistoryIt is Love to Langston– from its elementary school section after a single complaint from Salinas, the miami herald reported for the first time, who has two children in school.
The complaints, reviewed by The Daily Beast, reveal that Salinas denounced the books for things like “CRT and gender ideology [sic]”, and “indoctrination”.
“It is not educational and has indirect messages of hate,” Salinas wrote about The hill we climbed, which she incorrectly described as being authored by Oprah Winfrey (the book features a referral from Winfrey). One of the pages Salinas complained about reads: “Somehow we stand and witness / A nation that is not broken but simply unfinished.”
A school committee decided to replace the books in the high school section of the library, according to meeting minutes seen by The Daily Beast, despite the books being recommended for younger readers.
Salinas, who has filed complaints against five books, appears to be linked to several far-right organizations, attending events with Moms for Liberty and Proud Boys.
Salinas did not return requests for comment. The Miami-Dade Moms for Liberty chapter did not immediately return a request for comment.
Salinas was removed by security from a Miami-Dade school board meeting in July 2022, according to video of the event, during an intervention by Moms For Liberty. The group interrupted the meeting to protest two sex education books that had previously been approved by the board. After petitions from parents, the board voted 5-4 to remove the books, effectively leaving the district without instructional materials for sex education.
An avid supporter of Ron DeSantis, Salinas worked as a volunteer on his “Education Agenda Tour” in August 2022, according to social media posts reviewed by The Daily Beast. That summer, DeSantis toured the state promoting conservative candidates in school board elections and criticizing schools that “indoctrinated” children.
However, Salinas’ politics appear to have moved beyond the right wing of the Republican Party, veering into extremism and anti-Semitism.
In March of this year, Salinas shared a Facebook post titled “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which included a series of anti-Semitic tropes about an alleged Jewish conspiracy to control the world. Salinas appears to have deleted the post on Wednesday after it was flagged by Miami Against Fascism. on twitter. Upon deletion, she posted a photo of an armed Israeli Defense Force soldier in front of a tank, with the words: “People have never seen this. I love my Jewish people.”
Salinas, a registered Republican, appeared to become more politically active during the COVID pandemic, according to an analysis of her social media. In October 2020, Salinas was interviewed briefly on a PBS Newshour segment about Florida voters.
“My biggest fear is that they will talk about the Democratic Party. They talk about socialism, socialism and communism going in the same direction,” said Salinas. She told PBS that she had fled Cuba for the United States when she was 21.
“The reason we came here, I remember, I was little and I say I need to live. It’s a lot of oppression and the dictator. So I don’t want that for my kids. I want my children [to] keep your freedom,” she told the show.
In August 2021, Salinas participated in a protest against masks in Miami-Dade schools, where she was photographed alongside Enrique Tarrio, former leader of the Proud Boys. Tarrio had already been implicated in the attack on the Capitol on January 6, for which he was later convicted of seditious conspiracy. (Salinas has shared posts indicating that she believes the Jan. 6 defendants are political prisoners.)
A little over a year later, Salinas attended another rally organized by the Proud Boys in support of Christoper Morzon, a far-right extremist dubbed the “Cuban Confederate”. At the November 2022 protest, Salinas can be seen wearing a Ron DeSantis T-shirt and hat.
A month earlier, Morzon was physically assaulted in Hialeah, Florida, ending up in the hospital. Then Senator Marco Rubio tweeted that the attack was politically motivated and that Morzon was campaigning for Rubio’s campaign. However, a report of the incident by the Hialeah Police Department made no mention of a political motive.
However, right-wing groups rallied around Morzon despite his history of racist and white supremacist beliefs. Morzon attended the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which ended with the death of an anti-fascist protester. He was previously a member of the League of the South, a designated hate group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. (Morzon has claimed to have resigned from the group in 2021 and has dismissed his earlier views.) Salinas was also part of a select group of right-wing activists pictured with Morzon shortly after his release from the hospital.
A review of Salinas’ social media posts reveals his involvement in other right-wing campaigns. In October 2022, she participated in a demonstration outside the Miami-Dade School Board offices with Citizens Defending Freedom (CCDF), a conservative advocacy group described by its critics as “Christian nationalist”. CCDF is linked to Turning Point USA and Alliance Defending Freedom, the right-wing group in addition to several anti-LGBT bills in the US.
Salinas attended the protest wearing a black T-shirt with the words “American Patriot” emblazoned on it.
Salinas’ complaints about Gorman’s book are characteristic of a wave of attempted book bans across the country, led by conservative groups and a group of overzealous activists; a May review by washington post out of 1,000 book challenges found that 11 people were responsible for the most complaints.
Despite his disdain for the poetry of Gorman and Langston Hughes, there is a children’s book that Salinas promotes on his social media: The Children’s Guide by Ron DeSantis by Mike Huckabee—available for just $1.