Pro-life advocacy leads to conflict in the commons


Jessica Gillis

Rhianna Taylor refuses to move from in front of pro-life banners in the DVC commons, April 10.

Lauren Thomas, Staff member

Presence of the pro-life advocacy organization, Project Truth, sparked conflict in the commons of Diablo Valley College on April 9 and 10. Project Truth’s visits from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. were occupied with fervent dialogue and protest.

Project Truth is an affiliate of  the Sanctity of Human Life Network,  a Christian pro-life non-profit organization. Teams visit high schools and colleges to “educate students about the humanity of the unborn child,” said John Edgar, an organizing member of Project Truth. Edgar described their goal as “trying to make abortion unthinkable.”

To aid in their efforts, Project Truth distributed brochures and displayed a series of banners featuring graphic imagery of aborted fetuses. Banner headings read, “Am I Human?,”Is this Humane?,” “Window into the Abortion Clinic,” and “Window into the Womb.”

“No church, no state, women must decide their fate,” equipped with a megaphone, chants such as this would rise and fall among the assembly of students. Near a dozen students were at the heart of the demonstration. Frankey Hernandez, a public health major at Mills College, has followed the group’s tour schedules since first encountering them last year. Hernandez provided much of the protesting materials, including poster paper, pens and giveaway condoms and tampons.

DVC, in comparison to the other schools Project Truth has visited “it’s on the top of where students are rude, but that’s just a handful,”  said Project Truth’s John Edgar, “They’re very intolerant of other views.” According to Edgar, his group typically visits 20-30 colleges per year.

“They make appeals to fear and pity… giving emotionally charged reasoning,” said Rhianna Taylor, a theater major.

Debate was often high in intensity. Tempers flared. Crowds fluctuated as students passed between classes.

Monday’s events were coming to a close when a reported vandalism occurred. According to Lt. Huddleston of campus police, student Catherine Mason was arrested for vandalism. The case is still under investigation at this time.

Witness to the act, student Dominic Mejia reported seeing a girl approach one one of the pro-life banners, pull out what appeared to be a pocket knife and slice the sign in half. Mejia described her then trying to turn around and walk away, however, police were in close in proximity to the event and made a seamless arrest.

Due to the incident, “eyes are more open,” said Edgar the following day.

Tuesday’s culmination of events was of less intensity than Monday’s. Flare ups were met with police intervention and most discussions, though again fervent, remained civil.

A Facebook post Project Truth made about DVC was a hot discussion topic on Tuesday.

“‘Diablo’ a Spanish word meaning devil. Today an estimated 30 of the students, apparently influenced by their mentor Diablo, were in place on campus on our arrival at 0900,” led Project Truth’s post.

Project Truth’s Facebook post Monday night, April 9.

“It’s insulting… because there are faithful people in our group and they’re calling us devil worshipers and spreading lies,” said Laura Ramirez, a history major.

Many students cried comments that Project Truth was deceptive, insulting and unwelcome.

“They’re spreading false information and making women feel shameful for controlling their own fate,” said student Cassidy Schmidt.

“I feel like our campus is being disrespected,” said Harrison Hollidge, an art major.

Amid student outcry, Project Truth persisted with their message.

“It is wrong to intentionally kill a human life… I believe most people on this campus, if they knew the full humanity of an unborn child they would not go through with an abortion,” said Edgar.

“We want to protect women from the trauma of abortion, from having to make that decision,” said a woman from Project Truth who asked not to be identified.


Editor’s Note: Due to technical issues the first paragraph was omitted by mistake. This issue has been fixed and the omitted paragraph has been added.