Washington D.C. Police Arrest Two Students for Life Team Members Preparing to Chalk BLACK PREBORN LIVES MATTER outside Planned Parenthood, Stopped Efforts to Paint

Kristi Hamrick - 04 Aug 2020

“Even though we were told that we would not be prevented from painting the city street with tempera paint, police said our Students for Life team members would be arrested even if they chalked a message expressing love for the preborn,” said Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins.

“What you didn’t see today on the city’s streets will be coming to billboards across the country, because BLACK PREBORN LIVES MATTER, and we will not be silent. Viewpoint discrimination is not Constitutional, and we will take this to court if necessary.”


WASHINGTON D.C. (08-01-2020) – Two Students for Life Team members were arrested Saturday morning while peacefully attempting to chalk BLACK PREBORN LIVES MATTER after police stopped earlier attempts to share that speech in paint. Students for Life of America Strategic Partnerships Advisor Warner DePriest and SFLA student leader from Towson University were arrested on the scene following a harrowing morning.

Video taken in the early hours Saturday shows Washington D.C. police threatening to arrest Students for Life team members preparing to paint BLACK PREBORN LIVES MATTER outside Planned Parenthood on the 1200 block of 4th Street NE. Prior to the planned, peaceful event, SFLA got a permit and addressed in conversation and a letter that following the city’s decision to allow a private organization to paint a message to defund the police, the pro-life team would be also be expressing their speech in paint. SFLA was asked to use tempera paint and made plans to express our grief over the loss of life in the Black community from abortion. Though only 13 percent of the female population, African American women make up 38 percent of all reported abortions. Perhaps that is because 4 out of 5 Planned Parenthood vendors are within walking distance of minority-dense neighborhoods, as noted in a Supreme Court amicus brief.

Video of the encounter here.

In the video, during the arrest, the primary speaker is Dr. Dean Nelson.

More from people on the scene here.

Hawkins reported: “After being told by the Metropolitan police that the Mayor has quote ‘opened a Pandora’s box’ by painting public streets, we arrived to find six police cars threatening to arrest our team and students if they painted, even using the tempera paint we bought that the Police Department specifically requested. When we asked if we could at least use sidewalk chalk to chalk our anti-violence message on the streets, the police threatened to arrest us.

“With these threats D.C. Mayor Muriel Bower has made her motives clear as she apparently only thinks that SOME Black Lives Matter and that only SOME slogans are allowed to be painted on streets. Apparently, she thinks only some Black lives matter, and she will be hearing from Students for Life’s attorneys about these unconstitutional efforts to limit speech to government-approved topics,” said Hawkins. “Today is National Pro-Life Generation Sidewalk Day meaning that thousands of pro-life students are in front of Planned Parenthood and other abortion vendor operation praying and sharing the message that every child deserves hope and a future and that every mom deserves and will receive help.”

In the letter to the mayor about the planned event, Hawkins and other organizers noted: “Having opened the streets of your city for public expression, Students for Life of America requests the opportunity to add our voices to those concerned about how people of color are treated in America. Black Lives do matter, born and preborn, as too many people are lost in America today from causes that should be addressed and prevented for their disproportionate impact on minority communities … Your original decision to paint ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the street is government speech. However, your decision to allow protestors to paint ‘Defund the Police’ opened the streets up as a public forum. You are not permitted to discriminate on the basis of viewpoint in making determinations relating to public assemblies in public fora. The message of the pre-born will not be silenced.”

MEDIA ADVISORY: 10 a.m. News Conference to go on as planned. 

“At 10 a.m., we will still stand here with leaders of the African-American community because we will not be silent on the loss of life from abortion. Consider this, since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973, abortion has killed an estimated 20 million black babies — more than the entire black population of 1960. Too many people have been lost to us, as an organization founded by a racist continues to market its deadly business disproportionately to minorities, resulting in devastating loss of life.”


Speakers at the 10 a.m. news conference will include:

o   Michele Hendrickson, East Coast Regional Director, Students for Life of America

o   Dean Nelson, Frederick Douglas Foundation

o   Tina Whittington, Executive Vice President, Students for Life of America

o   Toni McFadden, Relationships Matter

o   Cherilyn Brice Holloway, Pro-Black Pro-Life

o   Excellence Askew, SFLA Pro-Life Student Leader

o   Rev. J.R. Gurley, Frederick Douglas Foundation of Virginia

Calling on the Pro-Life Generation Nationwide: 

The abortion industry think tank established by Planned Parenthood, the Guttmacher Institute, notes that “the abortion rate for black women is almost five times that for white women. To draw attention to that ugly reality, pro-life activists nationwide will continue to make the point that BLACK PREBORN LIVES MATTER in billboards, chalkings, and yes, paint.


The Black Preborn Lives Matter Campaign partners in future events also include: Pro-Black Pro-Life, Relationships Matter, Human Coalition Action, The Restoration Project: Human Coalition, Created Equal, and others to be announced.

To view the graphic representation of the proposed street painting banned today, CLICK HERE.

Students for Life of America has been calling attention to Planned Parenthood’s racist past in our SOS – Strike out Sanger campaign. Read more in Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins’ op-ed in USA Today, as we confront the racist reality of Planned Parenthood’s past and present.

For questions or an interview, please contact Kristi Hamrick at [email protected].


Students for Life of America is the nation’s largest, pro-life, youth organization. Headquartered in Fredericksburg, VA, SFLA serves more than 1,240+ groups on college and university, middle and high school, medical and law school campuses in all 50 states.

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