A reservation at a Raleigh restaurant for a group of women and men celebrating the end of the school year was canceled after the restaurant found out some of those attending were associated with the Wake County group Moms for Liberty.
Kari Donovan, a member and spokesperson for the Wake County Chapter of Moms for Liberty, told Carolina Journal in a phone interview that Julie Page, chair of the local chapter, made the reservation at Wye Hill Kitchen & Brewing as a happy hour for moms she knew to celebrate the end of the school year.
She posted the invitation Tuesday on the group’s Facebook page without mentioning the location. Donovan said attendees needed to send an inquiry to find out where it would take place on Friday. Page sent the invite to members of the group directly.
In total, 30 people responded, including men, some women who were not affiliated with the Moms for Liberty group, and the rest who were members. Unbeknownst to Page, one of those members went by an assumed name. The imposter is actually a Durham woman named Catherine Johnson, who recently started a progressive far-left group and is raising money through social media for a “Summer of Rage for the Triangle area of North Carolina.”
In a Tik-Tok video, Johnson took credit for complaining to the restaurant about the attendees’ association with Moms for Liberty. In another video, Johnson addresses Page directly.
“Stay vigilant big girl because we are coming for you,” Johnson said in the video. Donovan said Johnson was removed from the group.
Donovan stresses this was never a Moms for Liberty event, only a get-together for moms, dads, or anyone who wanted to celebrate the end of the school year.
Wye Hill, owned by Raleigh restauranteur couple Sara Abernethy and Chris Borreson, emailed Page, telling her that since the reservation was associated with members of Moms for Liberty, they would cancel the reservation.
“It would negate what we stand for,” the Wye Hill email reads. “We support a safe space for the LGBTQ +, and gender non-conforming communities. Our values are clearly not in alignment with those of Moms4Liberty (sic). While as a company, we don’t align ourselves one way or the other politically, we do align ourselves with human issues at hand. We do not endorse any organization that engages in, supports, encourages, or promotes intolerance, hate, terrorism, violence, money laundering, or other illegal activities, and we cannot align the Wye Hill brand with Moms4Liberty (sic).”
Carolina Journal reached out to Wye Hill and was directed to email a Charleston, South Carolina, public relations firm, South City PR, which did not respond prior to publication of this article.
Johnson states on her Facebook page that she has set up a Go Fund Me page to fund the “Summer of Rage,” being coordinated through her group Project Progress NC. On the group’s site Johnson identifies herself as a political science student at N.C. Central University and an activist for “Women’s Rights and Reproductive Justice.” She is recruiting activists and fundraising to support demonstrations to be held throughout the Triangle this summer.
Wake County Moms for Liberty is a nonpartisan group. Before the primary, Page had Democrats and Republicans running for office speak to her group about their positions on issues important to parents. Among the priorities of the group are to oppose government overreach, promote liberty, and encourage “liberty-minded leaders to serve in elected positions.”
“I do believe it is a mission of the Left to escalate negativity around Moms for Liberty to cause some sort of uprising, maybe to fundraise off of it or discredit their work,” Donovan said. “We do not want any violence or uprisings or damage to small businesses. The Left escalates.”
Donovan said moving forward, the Moms for Liberty group considers 2022 the “year of the parent,” as parents become more vocal in demanding a say in how their children interact with the public school system.
“Moms for Liberty welcomes all that have a desire to stand up for parental rights at all levels of government,” the group’s website says. “Moms for Liberty is dedicated to fighting for the survival of America by unifying, educating, and empowering parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government.”
The group wants to focus on safeguarding the American family and the role of school boards in our communities. They want to ensure their priorities are part of the political discussion.
“That includes Democrat families,” she said. “We want safe families in America.”