"Parasol Patrol" volunteers stand outside Olney Public Library to escort attendees and shield them from protesters. Credit: Apps Bichu

A visible police presence, county officials and more than 100 “Parasol Patrol” supporters rolled out for a drag story time event Sunday in Olney—along with around a dozen protesters who held signs objecting to the event. 

But the interaction was peaceful at the first drag story hour in the county since Feb. 18, when apparent members of the Proud Boys punched and stomped supporters at a Silver Spring event, according to witnesses and video. The Proud Boys did not appear to be present Sunday, though one official alleged that a vehicle driven by Proud Boys had scouted the event. 

The story time at the Olney Public Library was hosted by drag queen D’manda Martini. Attendees were escorted inside the venue by members of the Parasol Patrol, volunteers who used colorful parasols to shield children and parents from seeing protesters and transphobic signs. 

Officials such as Council Member Kristin Mink (D-Dist. 5), who helped organize the event and stood with the Parasol Patrol, Council Member Dawn Luedtke (D-Dist. 7), County Executive Marc Elrich, and Earl Stoddard, assistant chief administrative officer, were all present. 

“It’s a great Sunday morning, and there has been a great turnout,” Mink said. 

After the violence Feb. 18, there were concerns by officials that the Proud Boys would make their way to the drag story time in Olney. The Proud Boys are a white nationalist organization, classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League as a hate group. Leaders of the group had been indicted for conspiracy in the 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection. 


Montgomery County Police Officer Carlos Cortes had stated to MoCo360 that because of the violence Feb. 18, officers would be present at Sunday’s story time as well at other future events in a “peacemaker role.”  

“Officers will be on hand to ensure the safety of attendees and participants,” Cortes wrote in an email Friday. “If protestors are present, we will make sure that there is distance between the two groups, so attendees are able to come and go safely without interference.” 

The area around Olney’s library had a visible presence of Montgomery County police cars and officers. 


Mink stated on social media that a few Proud Boys supporters had shown up near the area but were outnumbered. 

“After an apparent scout drove through the parking lot, they made the wise choice not to show,” Mink’s post stated. 

A group of protestors demonstrated. Some tried to make their way inside the library but were stopped by the police and spoken to by some of the Parasol Patrol volunteers. “I want to protect the kids,” one protestor repeated as some of the Parasol Patrol members engaged him in conversation. The man was then peacefully spoken to by a police officer, after which he left.


Other protestors held signs nearby stating, “Not in a public library,” and “This is not amusing children, it is abusing children,” as well as other transphobic signs. 

Volunteers of the Parasol Patrol played Disney songs such as Frozen’s “Let It Go” and Moana’s “How Far I Will Go,” and held up their umbrellas to prevent children from seeing or hearing their protests. 

Mink thanked Elrich for making it out to the story time and led him inside the library to witness the event. 


Elrich said the story hour was “great.” 

“I have kids of my own. I’ve been to storytimes…” Elrich said. “This was like any other story time. They read the story; they engaged the kids; the kids applaud[ed].” 

Elrich marveled at the size of the crowd, saying the fact that so many people came out to see the event is “significant.” 


Drag storytimes have been the target of a number of protests in recent months. The Proud Boys had also demonstrated at a story hour in October in Wheaton. However, the Silver Spring story time was the first time a story hour event in the county had reports of violence. 

After the storytime, volunteers, officials and community members clapped and cheered as they posed for pictures and dispersed peacefully. 

“We will not be intimidated,” Mink said in a social media post. “Montgomery County celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community and displays of hate will only spur us to show up and do more to live that value out loud!”