An allegedly student-run group that staged school walkouts across Virginia is funded by Democratic donors and appears to coordinate with other “student-led” groups that host pro-abortion and gun reform protests, according to records reviewed by the Daily Caller.
The Pride Liberation Project, an allegedly “student-run” organization, hosted nearly 100 walkouts across Virginia to protest Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s updated model policies for dealing with transgender students. The policy mandates educators must inform parents about a child’s perceived shift in gender identity at school. Students protesting Youngkin’s updated guidance dubbed the policy “anti-Queer,” though the Youngkin administration told the Daily Caller the updated policy is popular among constituents.
Youngkin’s spokeswoman Macaulay Porter told the Daily Caller that student protesters objecting to the updated guidance are misinterpreting what the updated guidance intends to do and that just 10% of school district’s adopted the transgender guidance from the previous administration.
“The guidelines make it clear that when parents are part of the process, schools will accommodate the requests of children and their families. Parents should be a part of their children’s lives, and it’s apparent through the public protests and on-camera interviews that those objecting to the guidance already have their parents as part of that conversation,” Porter said. “While students exercise their free speech today, we’d note that these policies state that students should be treated with compassion and schools should be free from bullying and harassment.”
.@DailyCaller – Students at Annandale High School walk out in protest of Virginia Gov. Youngkin’s proposed transgender policy which would require educators to alert parents if the student wishes to change their gender identity.
Students chant “say no to the VDOE”
A thread: pic.twitter.com/HXnd72JscI
— Reagan Reese (@reaganreese_) September 27, 2022
Money for protests and lobbying efforts for the Pride Liberation Project appear to come, at least in part, from the Democratic donor hub “ActBlue.” The Democrat-backed group provides money to the allegedly student-run lobbying efforts, according to an ongoing donation campaign.
“Right now, lawmakers are debating laws that attack the basic rights of LGBTQIA+ students. From a bathroom and Queer literature ban, to weakened protections for Queer students, lawmakers are poised to roll back Virginia’s progress,” the donation campaign reads.
Pride Liberation Project’s website was not created by students, according to an attribution at the bottom of the site. The website was donated by Z2B Media, which is owned by Tyler J.D. Begley, an anti-Israel activist who openly advocates for the Pride Liberation Project on his social media pages. Begley did not respond to the Daily Caller’s inquiry into whether he creates the graphics featured on the “student-led” social media pages.
The Pride Liberation Project was created in Aug. 2021 and formed by Aaryan Rawal, a former Fairfax County Public School student and current Harvard undergraduate, according to the group’s State Corporation Commission (SCC) filing. Two high school students became “directors” for the group around the time Rawal began at Harvard in late August 2022.
Rawal’s high school activism is not limited to the Pride Liberation Project. He also worked for “Team ENOUGH,” a Virginia-based lobbying group that works for gun reform statewide and has ties to Democratic-backed efforts, such as President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better legislation. Rawal published two op-eds in The Washington Post and worked as a legislative staffer for Democratic Senator Sen. Scott Surovell.
Rawal did not respond to the Daily Caller’s inquiry into what assistance he had in creating the organization and to what extent “Team ENOUGH” works with the Pride Liberation Project. (RELATED: Virginia Students Plan Walkout Over Gov. Youngkin’s Transgender Guidance)
Another high school student and activist on the Pride Liberation Project’s lobbying team works with “Team ENOUGH” and the group “GenRatify,” another allegedly student-run organization that lobbies on behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Donations for “GenRatify” are also promoted through Democratic-backed “Act Blue.”
Nicki Neily, the founder and president of the concerned parent organization “Parents Defending Education,” told the Daily Caller she is suspicious of the level of “behind-the-scenes” coordination going on between students and Democratic leaders.
“Although today’s walkouts are framed as being student-led, the level of behind-the-scenes coordination by professional political operatives is breathtaking,” Neily said. “Parents should be indignant that their children are being manipulated and weaponized by activists, particularly at a time when recently-released statistics show the depth of learning loss incurred by students.”
“Schools in northern Virginia were closed for longer than nearly anywhere else in the country, and our schools’ focus should be on remediating this problem, period,” she continued.
GenRatify, Team ENOUGH and the Pride Liberation Project did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.