On Thursday, February 7, St. Louis University invited MSNBC commentator Toure to speak at a Black History Month program. Toure has been in the spotlight recently because of some highly charged comments he made regarding abortion. In one of his statements, he said that because a former girlfriend had become pregnant during the relationship, and had an abortion, he said that abortion "saved my life". The comment could have been taken to mean that had the pregnancy been carried to term, he would not have had the personal success in life that he enjoys today.
The invitation to such an outspoken pro-choice advocate is surprising coming from a Catholic University, and many pro-life groups, like Move-On-Up.org, a local organization of black Conservatives, were so outraged that they staged a protest outside of Tegeler Hall where Toure was speaking.
Between 60 to 70 people gathered outside the Hall to protest SLU's invitation. Move-On-Up members were there in force to get the facts out about abortion in the black community. Around 1900 black children are aborted daily, and that groups like Planned Parenthood were originally started to perpetuate the abortion of black babies. The protest was peaceful, and at one point the protesters were invited in to hear the presentation.
The auditorium was filled with mostly young black students, but the crowd was a mixture of young white students, and other older people, both black and white. Toure is well known to younger people because of his time on MTV, and therefore appeals to younger audiences. However his turn to politics has been nothing but a sharp left turn. His speech was filled with blaming whites, particularly Republicans for racial inequities, and declaring America a racist society, where minorities have no chance at success.
Index cards were passed around to the audience to submit questions for a question and answer session after the speech. What was billed as a non-partisan event was nothing but. The questions ranged from Republicans trying to win over minority votes to gun control. Close to the end of the program, several Move-On-Up members were escorted out of the auditorium, "making others feel uncomfortable by some of their comments", was the reason given. When they asked if they could speak to Toure after the program, they were told they could, but could not ask any questions regarding abortion, or Toure's recent comments regarding abortion. One must wonder why is SLU so afraid of freedom of speech?
Abortion will continue to be a hot topic, discussed in all venues, including colleges and universities. Hopefully, St. Louis University will not only be a place where the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church will continue to be advanced, but also the freedom of speech to debate and discuss all ideas.