On Wednesday, March 24th, Marian University’s Pro-Life group, Knights for Life, gathered to chalk positive, supporting messages on campus sidewalks as part of Students for Life’s National Pro-Life Chalk Day in Indianapolis, IN. Messages were life-affirming, such as “Life is Precious!” “Mothers are Strong, Mothers are Brave!” “We support Pregnant and Parenting Students!” Knights for Life members were excited to flood campus with Pro-Life statements of hope and love, and many students passing by took pictures and smiled as they saw our chalk displays. This event was approved by Student Activities, and group members followed all rules and policies.
Later that evening, a female student posted a Snapchat video of herself on campus washing away our chalk, with a filter that said “My Body My Choice.” Immediately, Knights for Life officers went to the center of campus to see the damage done. Eleven of our chalk messages were intentionally washed away.
Wow, I thought. What benefit is there to washing away supportive messages like “Love them Both” or “Life is Precious”? How are these messages offensive?!? We made sure that all of our chalk artwork was positive and affirming the dignity of human life, and also the roles of motherhood and parents. If pro-choice people really were pro-”choice,” couldn’t they at least agree that mothers are strong? That we should love both mother and child? Or does that statement reflect the hypocrisy that killing an intentional human being is not the loving option?
We took pictures of the damage done, and I texted my SFLA Regional Coordinator, Emily Stumpo, right away. Okay, so they washed away some of our chalk. There’s not really anything I can do about it, I thought. Later that evening, a friend told me that this same student was trying to acquire spray paint to paint pro-choice messages around campus. Now THAT would for sure be vandalism. So I called my RC Emily again to figure out my next steps. Part of me wanted to sit outside and ‘keep watch’ in case anything further happened with the student, but wasn’t sure if she would even do it. Emily suggested calling campus police and explaining the situation so that they were aware. Campus police were really helpful, and they appreciated me letting them know ahead of time. They had someone stationed around campus keeping an eye on any possible activity.
The next day, I spoke with the person in charge of Student Activities to explain everything that happened. She was shocked and really supportive of us. She said she is going to speak with the Dean of Students to talk about conduct steps that need to be taken, and that it was not okay what the student did.
All in all, I’m glad we were able to chalk. The fact that someone tried to wash it away proves just how powerful our messages of hope are, and how necessary our group is for this campus. It also, indicates how much more work we need to do in engaging in activism and dialogue to change hearts and minds on abortion. We ARE the Pro-Life Generation, and we will not stop until abortion is unthinkable.
Mary Carmen Zakrajsek is the Indiana Regional Intern, and the president of Marian University’s Students for Life group, Knights for Life.