LI Grad Spotlight: Joy Gjersvold and AnnMarie Adams
Working-class Bremerton drives Kitsap County, Washington’s Democratic politics.
You may remember Bremerton from the Supreme Court decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, which reversed a 9th Circuit decision prohibiting a high school football coach from praying on the field after football games. The free exercise of religion guaranteed in the 1st Amendment is part-and-parcel of a wide range of issues galvanizing parents to take back school boards across the country.
Meet parents Joy Gjersvold, a military spouse, and her partner-in-crime, AnnMarie Adams, who have collectively attended a handful of Leadership Institute trainings and co-founded a Moms for Liberty chapter in Kitsap County.
Gjersvold was featured in POLITICO coverage of Moms for Liberty’s national conference in Tampa in July of this year, at which Leadership Institute training played a central role:
The moms flocked to Tampa from all over the U.S., including Joy Gjersvold, who leads a Moms for Liberty chapter in Kitsap County, Washington.
Like many others, Gjersvold was inspired to get more involved in education by the pandemic — the closing of schools in her area, a “lack of preparedness” to go virtual, masking and vaccination requirements for students and teachers. Gjersvold found out about Moms for Liberty through a Facebook post and last August founded a local offshoot in Kitsap, which spans five school districts in Western Washington.
In the time since, the group has expanded to include an executive team and district “captains” — parents who keep everyone posted on education happenings in their district. The group sees about 12-20 people at their regular meetings, Gjersvold said.
“It spoke to me,” Gjersvold said in an interview. “I realized, with a daughter who is still in high school, I had to do something.”
…. Moms for Liberty is clearly inspiring parents to take action locally as the movement continues to expand.
In Washington, for example, Gjersvold said there are 15 local school board seats up for reelection soon that the local Moms for Liberty group is targeting.
“There are red voters — there are conservative voters — who know what is happening is wrong,” Gjersvold said. “We need to empower them to have a voice.”
Joy and AnnMarie are using their unique skills to advance pro-parent policies in Washington.
Dena Espenscheid, LI’s Director of Grassroots Coalitions, writes:
“Joy is using her crafting skills and imagination to find new ways to introduce liberty principles and GOTV messages to the parents in their area. Joy and AnnMarie made a GOTV Photobooth for a massive Trunk or Treat event in late October. They are also using their Trunk or Treat space as an official Moms for Liberty ballot drop-off location for secure voting.”
These political newcomers are using “this kind of out-of-the-box thinking,” as Dena puts it, to engage voters on important issues.