STOCKTON (CBS13) - A group of anti-vax moms called the "Mamalitia" says they're leading a growing national revolution of women.
The founder is from Stockton. Their website shows they're pro-gun and anti-vaccine.
In 2019, the group was called "The Freedom Angels," and was seen at the California State Capitol trying to block student vaccinations.
Now, they say they're trying to arm women with survival skills, and are encouraging others to join their movement.
"We train you on natural medicine, we train you on how to navigate the forest," said the founder of Mamalitia, Denise Aguilar, in a video posted to her Facebook Page.
It started as a group of moms condemning vaccine mandates, and then the COVID-19 vaccine.
You'll see them marketing themselves on their website toting big firearms, but on Facebook, Aguilar denies this is an extremist group and says they've never shown violence.
"We are not violent, we have not been on a watchlist. We are simply a group of women who are training each other and networking together," she said.
Dr. Richard Carpiano is a professor of public policy and sociology at the University of California, Riverside who has followed the group and its movements on social media since its founding.
He says Aguilar was in Washington, D.C., in January when a violent coup stormed congress, though there's no evidence she breached the building.
But she has been seen on social media alongside members of groups like the Proud Boys.
He's concerned that with this rhetoric some group members could become violent.
"When you're showing pictures of you with weapons, you are advertising services to train people in firearms. There's no reason whatsoever to think they're not pushing some extremist view," he said.
Senator Richard Pan worries the group will have an influence on vaccination rates during a time when there's already vaccine hesitancy.
He says some group members have most recently organized and shown up at the homes of public health leaders to intimidate them.
"Not only did they protest the public health measures but they then employed tactics to bully and intimidate people," Pan said.
On its website, the group says its mission has been misconstrued as violent and offensive based.
Aguilar declined CBS13's interview request to clarify what they stand for.
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