Dr. Alveda King, pro-life advocate and niece of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke to Western students about her experience with two abortions and her passion for the pro-life movement.
King came Thursday, May 21, as a voice for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, a pro-life organization focused on the harms of abortion. She grew up during the civil rights movement and is the daughter of late activist Rev. A.D. King.
King acknowledged the diversity that was present at the WWU Students for Life event.
“We had people who were both pro-life and pro-choice here,” King said. “We believe we gave them something to think about and that opportunity has meant so much.”
Katie Lodjic, a junior and communication sciences and disorders major, worked to bring King to Western. Lodjic is the president of WWU Students for Life, a pro-life club that was contacted by Lynden Human Life to host King as a joint effort between the organizations.
“I think it’s a good thing for Western students to experience because it’s something new,” Lodjic said. “It’s good for both students who are pro-choice and pro-life because they get to hear her message and her story.”
King’s pro-life background mixed with her civil rights background make her a prominent figure who conveys a powerful message, Lodjic said.
“We don’t have that many pro-life speakers on campus,” Lodjic said. “Everyone needs to be open to different ideas, especially as college students.”
King currently serves as the director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life, a Christian pro-life organization. King also serves as a contributor for Fox News, providing social commentary on topics such as the Baltimore riots following the death of Freddie Gray.
During her speech, King spoke of being raised in a family of pastors and sang a prayer for the crowd of students and elderly members of the community.
King talked about having two abortions and becoming a born-again Christian years later. Her grandfather was a big component in her becoming pro-life as he told her that it wasn’t a lump of flesh in her body, but his own grandchild, King said.
Now a mother of six, King showed a video of her son Eddie Beal, in which he talked about becoming a pro-life advocate after learning about his mother’s two abortions.
King also discussed her thoughts about how the pro-life movement is a continuation of the civil rights movement. She said equal rights should be given to unborn children in the same way that there should be equal rights for human beings, regardless of race.
King concluded by answering questions from the audience regarding her pro-life beliefs, her Christian faith and current race relations in the U.S.
King’s answers also showed a humorous side, breaking from the seriousness of the speech.
Laughter from the entire lecture hall errupted at King’s comparison of abstinence to the willpower for her, as an African-American woman from Georgia, to avoid eating fried chicken, as she’s allergic to chicken and gluten.
Christina Rogers, a junior and history and social studies major, worked a booth outside the lecture hall where King spoke and handed out pro-life resources that referred readers to abortion alternatives.
“We want to provide resources, help and choices for women that they may not know they have,” Rogers said.
King’s story captured the equality and tolerance that Western is all about, Rogers said.
King received an honorary doctorate of laws from Saint Anselm College. She has also served in the Georgia State House of Representatives and received the Life Prize Award in 2011 for her pro-life advocacy.