Warning: This article contains graphic images that some readers may find disturbing.
The Genocide Awareness Project set up an anti-abortion display Oct. 4 and 5 at Taylorsville Redwood Campus.
The organization compares the actions of abortion to genocide and lynching. While many Salt Lake Community College students who witnessed the demonstration were uncomfortable and profoundly upset, and some students chose to respond with a protest of their own.
African American students, as well as students involved with the Black Student Union, were most upset to see a banner of statistics that claimed black women have higher abortion rates than all women, and a separate banner advertising Black Lives Matter.
The second day of the protest, the Black Student Union and Latinos In Action collaborated and started a peaceful protest. Both clubs made signs stating how upset and disgusted they were by the Genocide Awareness Project. Both clubs were upset that this organization had permission to protest on campus.
“I feel that this protest is pointless and it holds no factual evidence at all and it should not be here,” says Black Student Union member Shekinah Johnson. “The organization is not discussing what happens after a woman decides not to abort her child. The Genocide Awareness Project is not even discussing about what happens to a woman if she has an abortion wrongfully. This organization is only saying ‘don’t abort because it is wrong.’”
In addition to the display, Genocide Awareness Project members distributed pamphlets that explained the cause behind the project and the reason for their protest. The protesters also wore body cameras and recorded students who debated them.
Several students challenged protesters on how, and why, the Genocide Awareness Project can compare abortion with genocide, with little response from members.
Numerous students stood up for their freedom of speech, but many felt the project organized this protest just to make others uncomfortable, and recorded their interactions with students for later editing, in order to discredit those with pro-choice opinions.
While the Genocide Awareness Project is allowed to display their messages under the First Amendment, it was clear the intent was to be as upsetting as possible. As a result, both the Black Student Union and Latinos in Action exercised their right to express themselves and gave a voice to all the students made uncomfortable by this exhibit.