The Unity Project Formed by Concerned Parents to Coordinate Opposition to California’s K-12 COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

IRVINE, Calif. (Nov. 12, 2021) – A coalition of concerned parents, business leaders, teachers and other professionals throughout California have founded The Unity Project in opposition to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan to impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on the state’s K-12 students once the Federal Drug Administration fully authorizes vaccines for this age group.

Newsom’s plan has met with vocal criticism and protests from more than one hundred grass-roots groups comprised of large numbers of concerned parents. The Unity Project was formed to unite these independent groups statewide into a powerful force of concerned citizens that is well-resourced, well-coordinated with streamlined communication and propelled by strong execution across the state.  The organization is humbly serving as a catalyst that significantly amplifies the good work of its strategic partners and magnifies and supports the best strategies being driven by the most experienced and effective groups in the space. 

“The forced vaccination mandate flies in the face of the broad scientific evidence base surrounding the risk/benefit of this vaccine for healthy children 18 years and under,” said Laura Sextro, chief executive officer of The Unity Project. “It also defies common sense and fundamental parental rights. Opposition to this egregious overreach by Governor Newsom is widespread throughout California and The Unity Project is harnessing the broad outrage and enormous parental engagement this policy has evoked statewide to stop it.”

The organization has launched its official website,, and has already formed over sixty strategic partnerships with large and engaged grassroots organizations across the state; a partner-base that will undoubtedly grow exponentially and across state lines now that the organization has officially launched.  The core values of The Unity Project are:

  • Unity & Teamwork. We’re building a “broad tent” community that is neither interested in nor distracted by “left/right” partisan politics. Instead, we’re committed to a framework where integrity, care for one another, and rational and evidence-based commonsense drive all we do. 
  • Diversity & Action. Already, this statewide movement reflects remarkable diversity across the political, racial, socio-economic, and every other “spectrum,” forming a beautiful mosaic of thoughtful citizens who share one common goal: to protect our children and each family’s freedom to choose.
  • Choice in Invasive Health Care. Broad swaths of those in this movement have received the COVID-19 vaccine.  However, we collectively stand for parents’ freedom of choice in our kids’ health care, and we stand as a voice for the marginalized children in this particular story.  

The Unity Project stands in opposition to:

  • Forcing children as young as five-years-old to effectively become human shields, assuming vaccine-injury-risk despite having statistically zero risk of COVID-19 to those who are healthy, just so adults with comorbidities can feel safer — what kind of a society does that?  At no time in history have we put children in harm’s way to protect adults.
  • Stripping risk/benefit discretion from parents with a novel vaccine for children, which, if healthy, are at statistically greater risk of the seasonal flu than COVID-19.
  • Illogical, unscientific, top-down, one-size-fits-all carte blanche mandates for healthy children that directly contradict the current body of evidence and data.

The Unity Project, which has applied to become a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is governed by a seven-member board of directors, guided by a strategic advisory council composed of globally recognized and esteemed physicians, scientists, business leaders, and community leaders, and managed by a professional executive team.

Board of Directors:

  • Jeff Hanson
  • Laura Sextro
  • Heather Puhek
  • Charmetra Chatmon
  • Royce White
  • Ryan Gallagher
  • Kurt Belcher
  • Amber Smith

Strategic Advisory Council:

  • Paul Alexander
  • Keith Berkowitz
  • Aditi Bhargava
  • Aaron Keriaty
  • Pierre Kory
  • Tess Lawrie
  • Robert Malone
  • Chris Martenson
  • Steve McClurkin
  • Peter McCullough
  • Harvey Risch
  • Charles Penick
  • Mari Barke
  • Kurt Belcher
  • Ryan Gallagher
  • Sam Gallucci
  • Allison Hartmann
  • Tracy Henderson
  • Tiffany Justice
  • Ginny Merrifield
  • Lawrence Sanchez
  • Troy Skabelund
  • Stephen Thames
  • Henry Walker
  • Royce White

Executive Team:

  • Laura Sextro, chief executive officer and chief operating officer
  • Parisa Fishback, president and general counsel
  • Robert Malone, chief medical and regulatory officer
  • Paul Alexander, chief scientific officer
  • Aaron Keriaty, chief of medical ethics
  • Amber Smith, vice president, operations
  • Heather Puhek, vice president, marketing and corporate secretary

Complete biographies can be found at

 About The Unity Project

The Unity Project, a non-partisan, non-profit educational organization, works to support, coordinate and amplify the efforts of the various California-based community organizations opposed to the state’s proposed K-12 COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The Unity Project was launched and is led by a highly diverse board of directors, highly credentialed strategic advisory council and executive management team; members include successful business leaders, globally recognized and esteemed physicians and scientists, and engaged local, regional and national community leaders.  In bringing together various grassroots groups under its “broad tent,” The Unity Project promotes a “children-first” agenda focused on integrity, care, rationality, and evidence-based motivation. For more information, visit

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