Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Unify Carmel was working on transitioning to a political action committee. According to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, Unify Carmel filed paperwork to become a PAC in September 2021.
One of the founders of Unify Carmel has parted ways with the controversial group to help lead another organization with a broader vision and different methods of pursuing it.
Paige Miller, a retired Carmel Clay Schools teacher, is serving as chair of the newly formed Moms for Liberty of Hamilton County, which “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,” according to its Facebook page.
The group is affiliated with a national organization of the same name and, despite its moniker, is open to anyone who supports its mission, not just moms.
Unify Carmel’s only goal was to “take back the school board,” said Miller, adding that the group chose not to focus on face mask requirements, vaccine mandates or statewide concerns. Moms for Liberty plans to address such issues in an effort to put “ultimate control” of children in the hands of their parents, not educators.
Besides Miller, several founders of Moms for Liberty are women who left Unify Carmel en masse after they could not reach a resolution with other members of the leadership team over an internal dispute.
Miller said she did not support some of Unify Carmel’s tactics, such as advising its members to continuously interrupt the Sept. 27, 2021, school board meeting by loudly speaking over board members as they attempted to conduct school business. After the meeting, CCS banned public attendance at school board meetings until December 2021.
“(Unify Carmel co-founder and board president Alvin Lui) was getting very combative, and that’s never going to solve the problem. That’s not what we want to do. We want to engage our community, but we want to be able to sit down at the table and have discussions, not screaming and yelling,” Miller said. “When they spoke over the school board, and I wouldn’t let my students do that, I thought that set a bad example. That was not anything I wanted to be part of, nor did I do any of that. That’s not how we’re going to solve this.”
Lui did not respond to requests for comment.
Unify Carmel’s online presence has been quiet of late, as its Facebook page hasn’t been updated since Nov. 15, 2021, and its Twitter and Instagram accounts haven’t been updated since Dec. 9, 2021, other than a merry Christmas message posted on Christmas Day. Miller said she was unsure if the group was still active.
Allon Friedman, another early supporter of Unify Carmel, said that the group still exists and that efforts are underway to create a political action committee, although documents filed with the Indiana Secretary of State’s office show that Unify Carmel filed to become a PAC in September 2021. PACs exist to raise funds to support or defeat specific candidates and are bound by a variety of election finance laws.
Miller said talk of transitioning Unify Carmel to a PAC was another reason she decided to leave the group and help launch another one.
“What (the founders of the local Moms for Liberty chapter) came to find out is, this was a much bigger and broader problem than just the school board,” Miller said. “We wanted to get involved with a group that was like-minded and that would also start looking into some of the problems that are happening at the state level.”