On August 1st in Washington D.C., a peaceful demonstration by pro-life students resulted in two Students for Life members being arrested. The crime? Children’s sidewalk chalk. There’s a double standard at play.
Three weeks ago, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. organized a group to paint “Black Lives Matter” along the public streets of D.C., paving the way for this manner of artistic expression. She has visited the site repeatedly for promotional shoots and touchups as recently as last week. Because this particular paint demonstration was commissioned by the government, it can legally be considered “government speech” and would not necessarily mean that any organization is allowed to paint as part of public expression.
BUT Black Lives Matter got involved and changed the entire game. Following Mayor Bowser’s street painting, BLM went out and painted “Defund the Police” right next to “Black Lives Matter” with an equals sign connecting the two. Their motivations aside, that fact that this non-government commissioned message was permitted and allowed to stay has truly opened D.C.’s streets for public expression.
Unless you’re pro-life or conservative, of course.
Under the assumption that this expression of free speech was available to every American, not just liberal protesters, Students for Life and the Frederick Douglass Foundation partnered to plan the painting of “Black Preborn Lives Matter” on the street alongside the city’s Planned Parenthood. Students for Life of America, in both a letter to the mayor and in our permit request for an event, said that painting the street was part of our intent for the peaceful event planned for Saturday; however, when we arrived at Planned Parenthood on the day of, we were met by police force and threats of arrest.
This is clear and undisguised government censorship and viewpoint discrimination. The same Mayor who three weeks ago was painting messages that fit her own agenda on the streets, paving the way for this manner of artistic expression, turned around and ordered the police to prevent the message of “Black Preborn Lives Matter” from being painted with washable materials.
The BIG Points That Matter
- Black Lives Matter requested no permissions and told no one they were going to paint “Defund the Police” on the street.
- We requested permission and the D.C. police told us what paint to buy.
- We never even touched the street – we were arrested for sidewalk chalking, which is completely legal on public sidewalks.
- The police said the “mayor was their boss” and that they were “under orders to arrest,” according to pro-lifers on the scene including Warner DePriest, one of the people arrested.
The past few months, thousands of protestors all across our nation have demolished cities and inflicted millions of dollars’ worth of damage in order to spread violent messages like “Kill All Cops” and “Kill All White People,” largely free of consequences or regulation; yet when a conservative message is involved, children’s sidewalk chalk suddenly becomes an arrestable offense.
It is unacceptable for those in positions of authority to use their power to silence the voices of those they disagree with. We are tired of our voices not being heard. We are tired of being silenced because we don’t fit the narrative that young people must support the abortion industry. We are tired of having our message suppressed because the abortion industry and their buddy public officials don’t want the world to know that pro-life students exist. Despite censorship efforts from the media and now the government, the pro-life generation will not be stopped from sharing this crucial message.
While the last few months have brought about a call for racial justice and equality in our nation, one oppressed group has been severely overlooked and neglected. Since its rise, the abortion industry has disproportionately targeted mothers and children of black and minority communities. Planned Parenthood has kept alive the dream of racist founder Margaret Sanger to “exterminate the black community” by strategically targeting and taking advantage of black communities.
This has been accomplished through advertisements targeting minorities, placing 88% of their mega-facilities within walking distance of minority neighborhoods, and keeping the highest abortion rates among black women. Democratic members of Congress have openly supported this agenda as recently as July 2020, pushing for the U.S. to fund global abortions for “black and brown” women.
It is infuriating to see so many prominent leaders in our society advocate for racial justice alongside unrestricted abortion access. With this hypocrisy at hand, we’re forced to pose the question: How can one advocate that black lives matter while simultaneously stripping black preborns of their most basic human rights?
Guest post by Lauren Marlowe, SFLA Student Spokesperson