Life-affirming sidewalk chalking is a popular and powerful method to communicate the pro-life message. Yet it is sadly it’s become common for such messages to be wiped away by abortion supporters, even if it means silencing those whom they disagree with. These vandals used to be cowards in the night, erasing messages then disappearing. Nowadays, that isn’t always the case.
The College of William & Mary
In late October, pro-life students at The College of William & Mary participated in National Pro-Life Chalk Day to share powerful, life-affirming messages. Unfortunately, pro-abortion students believe people who disagree with them shouldn’t be allowed to talk. Messages were vandalized and washed away, and at times replaced by messages promoting abortions. The group and its members were also mocked, threatened, and silenced on social media for being pro-life.
William & Mary’s Tribe for Life group chalked their messages at the Integrated Science Center (ISC) building on October 19, after reserving the campus chalkboard to do so. The group had used the chalkboard there before as a way to promote their events. Group members Chloe Folmar and Anne Whelan told the Flat Hat, the student newspaper, that their messages have been vandalized in the past.
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Today we chalked about why we are pro-life! Go check it out tomorrow at the ISC chalkboard 🖍 #nationalprolifechalkday #prolife #prolifegen #studentsforlife #lovethemboth #prolifegeneration #womendeservebetter #prolifefeminist #womensrights #humansrights #feminism #tribeforlife
Messages underneath the “I AM PRO-LIFE” heading included “because size & location don’t determine personhood,” the “Right to choose should not involve hurting someone else #1860,” “Love The Mother And Her Child,” and “The preborn are the most vulnerable.”
Though Tribe for Life group members did not see who vandalized the chalkboard, by the next morning, the messages were gone. In a back-and-forth throughout the weekend, pro-life and pro-choice students engaged in dialogue at the ISC building. Ultimately, students were able to gather for “interactions that allowed for productive disagreement,” as Folmar and Whelan described it in an op-ed shared with Students for Life which will soon be published in the student newspaper.
Unfortunately, attempts at dialogue did not stop continued vandalization.
Pro-choice students continued to make claims that the chalk messages were “insensitive” and “showed the lack of care the organization has for living people.” In bringing up issues such as “Black Lives Matter,” “children being separated from their families at the border and lost,” and “no statement on the state of the US foster care system,” such a tiring pro-choice argument gives Students for Life the opportunity to remind those we engage with that to be pro-life means being anti-abortion first and foremost.
It’s tough to say exactly why pro-choice students feel entitled to do whatever they want to other people’s property and messages. “The amount of backlash we have received has been difficult for us to handle as a group and as individual members. We want there to be debate and discussion about this issue on campus, but we have been receiving threats of violence and multiple individual members have been targeted and verbally abused,” Folmar and Whelan mentioned. Club members also shared with Students for Life that they have received harassment over social media, and that group members “were targeted online, mocked over Zoom, and yelled at in person.”
Throughout late October, Students for Life of America team members and students embarked in a 10 state Justice4Life tour urging Senators to vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Barrett was ultimately confirmed on Monday night in a 52-48 vote.
One city we visited was Philadelphia, where we urged Senator Bob Casey Jr., who has campaigned as a pro-life Democrat, to vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett. One way we worked to do this was by chalking messages on public sidewalks. As soon as team members began to do so, however, owners of the building on Market Street in Philly attempted to silence us.
Police confirmed that the sidewalk was public property, as did the Philadelphia’s Civil Affairs Unit, which was mentioned in an article from the Daily Caller News Foundation. Nevertheless, the building staff immediately washed the messages away.
Pennsylvania is considered to be a battleground state for the upcoming election, making it particularly crucial for passerby to come across pro-life messages. Voters need to not only be informed of where candidates and elected officials stand on the pro-life issue, but to then hold them accountable.