VIDEO: Some black students furious conservative peers used #BlackLivesMatter to tout pro-life message
Protester: ‘If you get close enough, you can almost taste the blood from centuries of forced entries of bastard babies – but YAF is too busy trying to kick what has already been beaten’
Posters that used the #BlackLivesMatter slogan to tout a pro-life message at Gettysburg College and stats highlighting the high abortion rate among black women has prompted a massive backlash at the private university, with students tearing down the posters and hosting an emotional demonstration lashing out at the conservative student group that hung them.
The posters were hung by students with Young Americans for Freedom, or YAF.
One poster, titled “Death of the Unarmed,” noted that the number of “unarmed” black individuals killed by police between 1999 and 2014 was 76, or about five per year, but that there are 363,705 black women who have abortions every year.
Another poster, titled “#BlackLivesMatter – So Why Didn’t Hers?” told the story of three black women who bled to death as a result of botched abortions. A third poster quoted MLK’s daughter, Alveda King, who said: “How can the ‘dream’ survive if we murder the children? Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother. The mother decides his or her fate.”
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One student, after removing the posters, left a handwritten note stating: “As a proud pro-choice person who lives here, I do not appreciate the fact that you stuck those posters on the wall without my permission… I took the liberty and removed them.”
And today, Feb. 23, black students on campus hosted a counter demonstration to protest the poster campaign in an emotionally charged display.
‘The policing of black women’s bodies’
In a slam poem called “Black Woman,” one student protester stood on a desk and called out: “If you get close enough, you can almost taste the blood from centuries of forced entries of bastard babies – but YAF is too busy trying to kick what has already been beaten. Maybe Black Woman should nail herself to a dart board just to give YAF the opportunity to aim somewhere other than her heart.”
“YAF says abortion is the No. 1 killer of black lives,” the student continued. “False,” the crowd echoed in reply.
Another student, also standing on a desk, then chimed in at that point to say “heart disease” is the No. 1 killer of black lives, citing CDC stats. The five-minute demonstration continued with various black students calling out saying the reason black women are five times more likely than white women to have an abortion is because black women lack access to adequate health care and birth control, as well as poverty struggles.
“The policing of black women’s bodies stems from a legacy of hatred,” shouted one female protester atop a desk as a crowd of students watched. “We are NOT going to stand for you to talk about us.”
One of the posters YAF had hung included a quote from Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger: “We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”
The conflict at the college has prompted the college’s administration to ask YAF members to take down the posters for being too “controversial.” Campus leaders encouraged the students to change the messaging.
“Liberals on campus could not handle the facts of the issue. Instead, they resorted to suppressing any perspective they disagreed with,” Young America’s Foundation stated in a news release that also described a mass email sent out to the campus community calling the climate on the campus “chilly” because of the conservative students.
“I write to you today because posters that were hung last week in numerous locations on campus singled out African-American women in an effort to promote pro-life positions. These posters also made misleading use of ‘Black Lives Matter.’ It is important to foster dialogue about political and social issues affecting the entire country and uphold a key element of our mission that is the ‘free and open marketplace of ideas,’ but we must find ways to do this in a creative, productive, and effective manner,” the college’s chief diversity officer Jeanne Foster wrote.
‘We are shut down and silenced’
Several members of the YAF chapter said they felt as if the college administration and the student body were censoring them.
“Gettysburg College claims to protect free speech and differing viewpoints yet in reality attempts to silence those who disagree with the dominant narrative,” Scott Moore, the chapter’s treasurer, told The College Fix in an email.
Alissa Lopez, the chapter’s vice president, echoed similar sentiments to The College Fix.
“They want to have discussions that fit solely that agenda of the left. So when someone comes along, such as YAF, to challenge those views we are shut down and silenced,” Lopez said in an email. “There are consequences we have to face from having a voice. Professors have treated me differently, I was forced out of a sorority, and I have been verbally harassed by students because of my conservatism.”
Jamie Yates, a spokesman for Gettysburg College, told The College Fix it stands behind free speech.
“We are committed to making Gettysburg College a more diverse and inclusive community while providing an environment where issues can be openly discussed and explored,” Yates said in an email. “The freedom to exchange views is essential to the life of the college but must be consistent with our institutional values.”
Yates went on to say students who removed YAF’s posters have not been sanctioned by administration.
Meanwhile, “college administration took an educational approach with Young Americans for Freedom and encouraged them to reframe the content of the posters that would encourage productive dialogue and avoid stereotypes,” he said.
Lopez said this isn’t the first time there has been threats made to the group.
“If the school doesn’t hold you accountable,” one female protester had chanted at the end of the demonstration, “then we will.”