Patti Hidalgo Menders may be the president of the largest Republican Women’s club in Virginia, as well as a media commentator for outlets looking to get the Loudoun County scoop, but she joined the fight against critical race theory (CRT) like anyone else: As a parent deeply worried for her community.
Menders and I met in June at an “Education, Not Indoctrination” rally in Leesburg, Va., which her group helped organize to encourage Loudouners to sign school board recall petitions for officials pushing CRT. She introduced speakers, which included parents, teachers, and national activists, and stayed around afterward to speak with the media. She is an integral part of the “Army of Moms,” a bold new catchphrase in Loudoun.
The daughter of immigrants who fled communist Cuba in 1964 and settled in Atlanta government projects, she described to me both her belief in the American Dream and that CRT is antithetical to judging others on the content of their character—not skin.
“When I see this government overreach, it resonates with me because that’s what they did in Cuba,” Menders said. “The militia raided my parents’ home three times looking for evidence that my father worked for the underground movement—which he did. My mother would sew the underground movement’s money in the curtain or put it in the lamppost,”
It feels like her story has come full circle in some ways. Her parents were deemed enemies of a Communist state, and she has been plotted against by taxpayer-funded officials in the United States.
Little did the club president know when she began showing up to school board meetings, encouraging parents to speak out against the rise of politically correct education, that she would be blacklisted in a 624-member private Facebook group. The group was called “Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County” and it aimed to “infiltrate” and employ “hackers” to quash the opposition’s communications and “expose these people publicly.”
Loudoun County is just one Virginia area that has emerged as a national
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