Pro-life activist and feminist Alveda King, Dr. Martin Luther King’s niece, shared her thoughts about feminism and free love, and offended some students by explaining her pro-life stance at Barnard last night.
The event was chiefly sponsored by Columbia Catholic Undergraduates and various Barnard Alumni.
King opened by showing onlookers a picture of King with her mother that was taken during her campaign for U.S. congress. "I was ... running for congress then and was very feminist," she said. "I'm still a feminist."
King displayed more pictures of her family, complemented by explanations of each member and their histories, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "Tradition is very important in our family and non-violence is a King family tradition," she said.
King proceeded to explain the 1920's civil rights movement. Like her uncle, King was very active in her early years as a woman in congress. "The true mark of a civil rights movement is founded in prayer and the strategy sessions that take place in Church," King said.
King addressed the controversial topic of abortion, explicitly noting her pro-life position. "Abortion is not a civil right, it is a violent act that violates the civil rights of an innocent human being," she said. King equated abortion to murder. "We don't have the right to do something to another body. It's unjust to take a human being and rip it into pieces," she said.
King discussed the precursors of abortion. "I don't advocate dating because it leads to sexual misconduct."
Students raised several questions on youth and their involvement in the pro-life campaign.
Students had mixed reactions to King's presentation. Katie Fitzgerald, BC '11, said, "I am someone who is pro-life but I was personally offended by some of the things she had to say."
Barnard Alumni and organizers Amy DeRosa, BC '74, and Carol Lavis, BC '62 said they were pleased with the outcome of the event. "The objective was to get a pro-life message on to the Barnard and Columbia campus and do it in a positive way," DeRosa said. "We feel that these people [pro-life activists on campus] need a voice."
Lavis stressed the need for diversity of opinions on campus. "If we believe in diversity in opinions everyone has to stand up for what they believe in. We feel there's not enough action on campus."
Zhara Khimji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.