If you have been considering using graphic images i.e. abortion victim images (AVIs) to do outreach on your campus this year, you are not alone. Students reach out frequently to SFLA for recommendations in who to work with. Oftentimes there is concern about the best way to set up an outreach like this that will best suit where their group members are at, and considering their current campus climate.
At Students for Life, we have seen AVI outreach go really well and go very wrong. But we think there is one thing that successful outreach hinges on: training. That’s right, it boils down to how well your group is trained in using this tool to reach your campus.
Is AVI right for your group?
Conversations that stem from seeing an image of an aborted baby are just different than those that stem from handing out fetal models. Emotions can run high, people can get angry, women who have had an abortion or someone who has helped a friend get an abortion can react in full spectrum from sadness over the child who was aborted to anger over these images imposing a judgement over their abortion.
Sometimes people react in confusion as realization starts to break through, because they didn’t know that this is what the outcome of abortion is – a dead child. And honestly, sometimes students will just try to hurry by the images, keep their earbuds in, and eyes to the ground to avoid seeing them.
In order to have the most effective AVI outreach you need to start by working with groups who are willing to give you the dialogue training you need for the event, help you assess your campus for the best outcome, and allow for group members who are not confident to sit in on the training but then decide not to participate in the outreach if they are not feeling ready emotionally or in their dialogue skills.
We work closely with two national organizations on AVI outreach, and we feel confident in recommending them to work with your group and then walking your group through the event from beginning in training, outreach day, and then following up with any controversy will come.
Justice for All (JFA) and Created Equal
At Students for Life, we have used the Justice for All training to train our team for several years. In addition, we had Steve Wagner train our Wilberforce and Stevens Fellows this summer and are excited to have Rebecca Haschke from their team speak at our SFLA National Conference this coming year. JFA has several different displays that are high profile, interactive and creative. They have some versatility in their displays from ones with many AVIs, to ones with only one, or none. Check out their work and some of their displays at their website www.jfaweb.org and you can email them for more information here: [email protected].
Another great group to check out is Created Equal. Created Equal also has a great training to offer as well as anything from a small campus outreach to a large scale community outreach. We just partnered with them in Cleveland when abortion activist organizations, like Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and NOW put together a free concert with SIA called All Access. Created Equal’s team had great sidewalk outreach and had their truth truck and video screen circling the auditorium showing these concert goers what All Access really looks like by letting the victims of abortion speak for themselves. You can check out their work and contact them through their website: http://www.createdequal.org/
There are other statewide or regional organizations that have AVI displays that can be used on campus as well. If you want to get in contact with one of these groups, please contact your SFLA Regional Coordinator or email us at [email protected]