Meredith George: Mommy & Lobbyist
Have you ever wanted to get involved in political work, but didn’t feel you knew enough or had the time? Meet Meredith George, a homeschooling mom of four from upstate New York!
Courtesy of the family
Meredith and her
Kallista, collected signatures and
the Black River
Festival in Watertown, New York, in September 2011.
I first met Meredith while co-hosting a parental rights webinar with Michael Farris. She had some follow-up questions that I answered, and the next thing I knew, a candidate for federal office was calling me and saying he supported the Parental Rights Amendment—because of Meredith.
I was intrigued, and wanted to find out more about Meredith. After all, local homeschoolers who take the time to contact their elected officials are the reason why Congress and the president—regardless of who is in office—steer clear of regulating homeschoolers. Local, politically involved homeschoolers are the backbone of Home School Legal Defense Association’s federal lobbying strategy. So I called Meredith one afternoon and asked, “Meredith, what makes you tick?”
She laughed and told me how she began homeschooling. When her first child was born (today her oldest is 11, and the youngest is 2), Meredith and her husband, Bill, discussed how they should educate their children.
“We leaned toward homeschooling, but feared we couldn’t do a good job,” Meredith remembered. “We kept praying, and after every prayer, it was like God kept saying, ‘Homeschool!’ Today, I can’t imagine not homeschooling my kids!”
When asked why she decided to join HSLDA, her answer was swift: “I belong to HSLDA because if I need answers or help, HSLDA is the one I want—you know what you’re doing.” Meredith added that she also belongs to Loving Education at Home of New York (LEAH), and is an assistant chapter leader of her local LEAH support group. “I do all the jobs that no one else wants to do,” she laughed. “And I lead a lot of field trips!”
Courtesy of the family
four daughters, Sereenah (9), Kallista (11), Merabelle (2), and
Abrianah (6), help
out with parental
Then we turned to politics. “People always ask me if I’ve always been politically involved,” Meredith said. “The answer is yes, but not really. I never saw myself out there as always helping with campaigns and elections, but I do care about issues. I want to stand up for the right thing. I’m always looking at who is the best candidate—who has the best moral principles.”
“What made you pay attention to the Parental Rights Amendment?” I asked.
Meredith told me that she had never paid a lot of attention to the cause of parental rights. What really caught her attention was when Mike Farris came to the area to speak about the Parental Rights Amendment in the spring of 2011.
“I sat there with my jaw on the ground. I was like, what? This is going on?” Meredith recalled.
“I wanted to get involved then and there. But I have learned not to jump into anything too quickly until I talk to my husband and family, and pray, because I’m the type of person who will get fully involved when I commit to a cause.”
Meredith went home, prayed about her involvement with ParentalRights.org, researched the organization, and emailed one of the staffers. ParentalRights.org staff called back several times and interviewed Meredith for a volunteer position. “I decided to get involved as a district coordinator,” she said. “I didn’t even know what that meant! I didn’t even know how many congressional districts are in New York! But I just wanted to do what I knew best. I had been a small-business owner, so I started to do home shows about the amendment. I would set up tables at different venues, collect petition signatures, and schedule screenings of The Child documentary. I knew that after a few months, eventually something would catch on. And my involvement has been snowballing ever since. I’ve had radio interviews about the amendment, meetings with congressional staff, and now meetings with candidates. I’ve had a lot of support from Parental
Rights.org, especially national grassroots director Jonathan Horton.”
Courtesy of the family
and her husband,
Bill, have been
married for 17 years.
Meredith’s family helps her with the parental rights events. The whole family wears t-shirts, snaps photos, blogs, and tweets about parental rights!
For Meredith, it all ties back into her life as a homeschooling mom. “Whenever we do something as homeschooling parents, our children look at that as an example of how to live their lives,” she explained. “My kids are seeing me stand up for what is right to protect their future and their children’s future. And in doing that, I’m setting a very big example. Sometimes I’m at events where people strongly disagree with me, but my children see that not everyone will always like what you’re doing. Sometimes the right thing isn’t the popular thing, but it is the right thing to do, and you must have the courage to stand.”
“Homeschooling my kids has educated me: I’m learning from them as much as they’re learning from me,” Meredith concluded. “And I need to give kudos to my husband, Bill, because husbands of homeschooling families are out there providing for their family so their wives can stay home and homeschool—it’s amazing. Homeschooling is the right thing to do. We have to make sacrifices—we don’t have two cars—but that’s okay because we’re doing it for our kids!”
Thanks to Meredith’s coordination with our lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., I have been able to make some valuable contacts to advance the Parental Rights Amendment. We have a candidate who has told us he now supports the Parental Rights Amendment—because of one mom’s work.
I’m so proud of everyday homeschooling moms like Meredith, who are also among today’s active patriots. If Meredith can homeschool and lobby on the Parental Rights Amendment, maybe you can, too! To find out more about getting involved in passing the Parental Rights Amendment, visit www.parentalrights.org or call 540-751-1200. n