Students strike back at pro-life demonstration on campus

Commotion stirred last week when representatives from the Christian organization Project Truth gathered in the Main Quad to spread their anti-abortion message. Students rallied and organized impromptu counter protests the two days that Project Truth tabled, Sept. 11-12. 

Project Truth representatives greeted the passersby and handed out pamphlets containing graphic photos and anecdotes from people impacted by abortion, from patients to abortionists. 

About a dozen students came out to protest and appeared to have varying hopes for the outcome of the demonstration.

“We’ve been trying to figure out how to get them off campus since they’ve been here this morning,” said Kody Storms, who offered to walk with students if they felt uncomfortable in the given situation. “It’s not about forcing ideas, it’s about making sure that people feel safe.”

Joining the conversation among students and visitors, Erin Gattis, a first-year student, aimed “to provide a new perspective from someone who is actually a woman and affected by this stuff.”

Gattis believes that “abortion should be easy [to] access and free for everyone because there’s so many factors that play into how that child is going to be raised, their quality of life and their mother’s quality of life.”

One of Project Truth’s representatives, Kenneth Calvin Jr., who attended the demonstration with his young son, said that they aim to “draw a light to what’s happening to nearly a million  innocent human beings every single year by way of abortion.”  

Calvin wants to spread his message to California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) students because “the young men and women who are going to school here are the future so it’s important to us [that they are informed] when making decisions and have the capacity to have a civil dialogue about things that could be on either side of the fence.”

On Feb. 13, the Sacramento State Hornet reported a clash between Project Truth and students, which resulted in local law enforcement being called to campus. University Police Chief Eric Lawson was seen at Wednesday’s demonstration keeping an eye on the proceedings.

Eli Ishikawa joined the conversation because he “saw it on MyRaft and I like people expressing their opinions.” Ishikawa exchanged thoughts and opinions with Project Truth’s members while trying not to make assumptions about their character; “I think that’s the solution to modern problems. I’ve gathered that he’s very passionate about his beliefs and very set on his logic whether I agree with it or not. Having a discussion about it is the only way we’re going to reach some consensus.”

Discussions took place, as did debates. “There have been some people who are stuck in the middle and anyone who’s on our side is very quiet about it because they’re worried about what everyone’s gonna think,” said Calvin. 

Project Truth has visited CSUMB multiple times in the past. Given CSUMB’s Nondiscrimination Policy toward demonstrations and protests, students will likely encounter Project Truth again in the future.

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