By Richard Grant and Celeste Huecias
The Genocide Awareness Project, an anti-abortion group, set up “graphic” displays of fetuses and holocaust imagery with crowds of around 80 to 100 students near the 49er Shops Bookstore Wednesday and Thursday.
The group aims to inform crowds of students or anyone willing to listen about their views on abortion. The group uses a large 360-degree display of images of fetuses to compare them to the holocaust and other genocide victims.
Students have generally reacted negatively to the display, saying that the group should provide its viewpoint differently.
“The [pictures] are graphic because we are following in the footsteps of other reformers that use graphic images, reformers like William Wilberforce, Lewis Hine, and Martin Luther King [Jr.],” said media spokesperson Abra Singleton. “Also, of course, Emmett Till, whose open casket helped start the civil rights movement.”
GAP is a group that goes around the country, mostly to colleges and universities, to put up these displays. Singleton said they sometimes experience backlash, but more often, they come and go without conflict.
“Every campus is different,” Singleton said. “Some campuses are hostile; some are very calm and everything in between.”
The group had several speakers that handed out papers to passersby and a few speakers that carried GoPro cameras on them. The group said that the cameras are to protect themselves if anything happens.
The speakers engaged in debate with some students and were mostly calm. At times, debates got more heated, or students would walk by chanting and holding signs.
Speakers declined to provide their names and deferred all media questions to Singleton.
Other student organizations handed out flyers or pamphlets with information about available student resources, like Student Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services and other forms of on-campus support.
The Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Student Association handed out pamphlets and led a counter-protest with a booth of its own on Thursday
“We want to show people a different narrative and give people accurate information,” said Bianca Garibay, women’s, gender & sexuality studies major. “These photos are all taken out of context.” She believes it is wrong for them to be relating women’s health to slavery or genocide.
This display is the first the Genocide Awareness Project has put up at CSULB since 2016. That year, tensions rose as another religious group, Campus Ministry USA, was also in the area.
Members of Student Life & Development were in the crowd as well. They were there to help direct any students that had questions about why this display was allowed to be on campus.
Curious students were directed to SLD and CAPS if they were disturbed by the images. Planned Parenthood was also available to talk to students near the psychology building on Wednesday.