A Proud Boys Supporter Got an Amanda Gorman Poem Banned Without Even Reading It

Last week, an elementary school board in Florida removed Amanda Gorman’s poem, “The Hill We Climb,” after caving to the complaints of a single parent. A simple social media search has now shown the parent has ties to the Proud Boys and other white nationalist, anti-LGBTQ+, and anti-Semitic groups. If all that wasn’t bad enough, the parent has admitted she didn’t fully read the poem.

Miami-area mother Daily Salinas initially flagged Gorman’s poem, which was read at President Biden’s inauguration, for being not “educational and have indirectly [sic] hate messages.” Those messages must be very indirect—because the actual words of the poem are overwhelmingly about unity.

Not only were those words lost on Salinas, so was the name of the poet. In the complaint submitted to The Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes, Salinas listed Oprah Winfrey as the author (Winfrey wrote the foreword). Regardless, the poem was promptly removed from the elementary school library.

Salinas has made complaints targeting four other children’s books about race—The ABCs of Black History, Love to Langston, Cuban Kids, and Countries in the News Cuba. With the exception of the last book, all were redirected to middle school libraries, well outside their intended reader age. Salinas, who is Cuban, told the Miami Herald that she complained about the books because she wants children to “to know the truth” about Cuba. She also threw in a number of right-wing scaremonger phrases like “CRT and gender idiology [sic].”

In an interview with The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Salinas admitted that (owing to her lack of English literacy) she hadn’t read many of the works she’d opposed, including Gorman’s poem. “They have to read for me because I’m not an expert,” she said. “I’m not a reader. I’m not a book person. I’m a mom involved in my children’s education.”

She said the same thing about a (now deleted) Facebook meme she posted laced with anti-semitic conspiracy theories. The post was a reshare of the 19th-century hoax pamphlet “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which claims to detail how a secret Jewish cabal will take over the world.

The Facebook meme is one of several instances of Salinas’ far-right activity uncovered by the group Miami Against Fascism. Over the years, she has been photographed next to former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio (recently convicted of seditious conspiracy for his role in Jan 6). More photos show her at another Proud Boys rally in support of Christoper Morzon, a former Marco Rubio canvasser and espouser of white supremacy (he has since publicly disavowed those views). Videos show Salinas at a school board protest with anti-LGBTQ+ group Moms for Liberty against two sex education textbooks (the group was ultimately successful).

None of these facts about Salinas are particularly surprising. Nor is it surprising that the school board “erred on the side of caution” before doing basic research on the complaining parent. This was always the intended outcome of Florida’s war on education—scaring school boards into elevating the “parental rights” of white nationalists over the parents and students they target.

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