For decades, African-American communities have been devastated by a form of institutional racism that kills innocents and spreads hopelessness. Our people have been disproportionately victimized and brutalized. It’s past time that our leaders and our nation acknowledge that a systemic and systematic, government-approved practice is destroying African-American lives.
While the tragic deaths of Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray and many others are surely part of the landscape, there is something deeply insidious that reaches far beyond what we are being trained to see.
In a world where all lives should matter, the lives of black women, including Tonya Reaves and Lakisha Wilson, and the millions of innocent black children who have been snuffed out by the abortion industry have yet to matter enough that the outcry of the masses reverberates so loudly that the halls of justice would be shaking.
Yet the silence remains deafening.
Tonya Reaves died in 2012, five months after Trayvon Martin. But she was not shot, and her death did not make national news. She died from internal bleeding, after a botched abortion at a Planned Parenthood facility in Chicago.
Lakisha Wilson died in 2014, six months before Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. She wasn’t shot. She died at a Cleveland hospital, after suffering complications from a botched abortion.
More than 17.5 million unnamed black children have died since 1973 — all by the hands of abortionists. Many of their mothers, if not dead, are suffering in silence from the atrocities visited upon them; usually, they are unaware of the disservice they were dealt from hands that had promised to help them.
Abortion, the greatest killer of our time, is decimating the black community. This scourge sweeps through our black communities, taking one in four of our people.
While African-American women are four to five times more likely to abort their babies than Caucasian women, does anyone bother to wonder why? Studies estimate that three-quarters of abortion businesses are strategically positioned in communities with high minority populations.
And while the killing of young black men by white police officers is intensely scrutinized, the killing of black girls and boys in the womb by abortionists in medical coats goes unnoticed by the media.
But it doesn’t go unnoticed by God, the Author of life.
God knows those black children. He knows all of us, born, unborn, black, white and every other color. To God, black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.
On Aug. 22, I will join tens of thousands of people of all ethnicities, all backgrounds and all denominations to begin a week of prayer and fasting, petitioning God for an end to abortion and the evils perpetrated by Planned Parenthood.
In our weakness, we will ask God to be our strength, as he promises in 2 Corinthians 12:9.
At PrayerCampaign.org, five unique prayers, in English and Spanish, are posted for use Aug. 22 to 29. The intentions include those wounded by abortion, pro-life advocates and public officials, the conversion of those employed by Planned Parenthood and the grace of repentance for us all.
Father Frank Pavone, author of the new book Abolishing Abortion and national director of Priests for Life, is a primary sponsor of the campaign. He says, “Prayer is the foundation of all we do in the pro-life movement.”
In the book, Father Pavone elaborates on this topic and cites an equally important spiritual component: repentance. He writes that we must repent of our hesitance to get involved in the fight against abortion. He calls us to action.
His call is perfectly timed.
Aug. 22 begins not just the pro-life prayer campaign — it marks the “National Day of Protest Against Planned Parenthood.” Pro-lifers across the nation will gather at more than 280 locations to raise awareness about what Planned Parenthood does.
More than 40 national pro-life groups, including Priests for Life, will turn out for demonstrations outside of Planned Parenthood facilities on that Saturday morning — a time when many abortions normally occur.
My prayer is that the recent undercover videos, which you can view at PriestsforLife.org/babybodyparts/ have struck a chord with the American public. We’ve seen in the press that even some who consider themselves “pro-choice” are shocked at the callous, cold-hearted attitudes of Planned Parenthood officials who casually discuss how much money an aborted child’s heart is worth. This reaction to the videos, for me, recalls another time and place.
In my book King Rules, I write about growing up in the civil-rights movement — and how the movement has grown to include the rights of the unborn. As a child, I had a playmate who was killed in a church bombing. I escaped from our family home as a fire bomb began to burn it. And I knew the righteous anger of those who saw no end to their oppression.
But I also saw the beginning of the end of that oppression. It came when people in northern states opened their papers and magazines and saw images of what came to be called Bloody Sunday. Photos of the violence inflicted on peaceful marchers said more than 1,000 words — they spoke volumes and made viscerally real what people had only known intellectually. As Father Pavone says, “America will not reject abortion until American sees abortion.” This truth reminds us of my uncle (Martin Luther King)’s warning that “America will not reject racism until America sees racism.”
The truth is ever before us. The racist roots of Margaret Sanger’s legacy have caused the deaths of millions of babies, more than one-third of them black. As an adviser to the Ku Klux Klan during her lifetime, she started out with sterilization and deadly “birth control” chemicals and procedures. Her work graduated to abortion in 1973.
As part of our civil-rights agenda at Priests for Life this summer, I worked with two projects: a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., where my father, Rev. A.D. King, took part in now-historic Bloody Sunday in 1965, and a Students for Life effort to restore dignity to a child killed and then dissected in a Planned Parenthood lab. With these events and all of our efforts, we work to affirm black lives, women’s lives and the “one blood” human lives of Acts 17:26, because all lives matter. Black lives matter because all lives matter.
To reiterate, America will not reject racism or abortion until America sees and turns away from both. I believe the videos of Planned Parenthood workers sorting out the eyes, livers and legs of tiny babies could be our version of the Life magazine covers of the mid-1960s — the source of images that will spur the sympathetic into activism and the defenders of oppression into a questioning of their beliefs.
This will only occur, however, if people know about the videos. And that’s why our peaceful protests on Aug. 22 and our prayers that day and for the week after are so vital.
At the end of the day, love matters. Death and hate have been overcome by love. Planned Parenthood will be overcome by love as well.
Let us show our love for God by our obedience to him and our love for one another, including the unborn. Let us pray, and let us act!
Alveda King, Ph.D., is the director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life.