In a press conference held in Oakland, Calif., on June 18, Radiance Foundation representatives and other anti-abortion activists gathered to tout a set of recently unveiled billboards that have been causing controversy across the country.
The billboards, which read “Black & Beautiful,” are decidedly less controversial than a previous Radiance campaign, which proclaimed, “Black babies are an endangered species.” Radiance unveiled the 70 Los Angeles-area billboards as part of an eight-week campaign to promote TooManyAborted.com, a site devoted to “exposing Planned Parenthood.” Critics argue that the ads, and Radiance’s overall efforts, aim to associate Planned Parenthood with racism. Representatives from the foundation have touted plans for 60 additional billboards in Oakland but did not confirm their exact location.
Activist Catherine Davis was one of the speakers during Saturday’s conference. According to the Radiance Foundation’s website, Davis leads Operation Outrage, “an ongoing effort to educate Americans about the holocaustic impact abortion has had on the Black community.”
While speaking to a group of around 30 press conference attendants, Davis lashed out at California Rep. Barbara Lee, saying she was offended that the lawmaker had expressed opposition to the billboards. According to a source present at the conference, Davis at one point said that Lee, a Democrat, had ”betrayed the Black race.”
Radiance head Ryan Bomberger also spoke at the conference, calling his approach “secular” because it did little more than expose what he said were the historically racist practices of abortion.
Eveline Shen, executive director of Asian Communities 4 Reproductive Justice, was also in attendance at Saturday’s press conference. Shen’s group has been closely monitoring the billboards and finds fault with Radiance’s goal of undoing Planned Parenthood’s efforts across the country.
“The work we are doing is about bringing investment back into our communities,” Shen says. “We know from decades of research that access to a full range of reproductive health services is essential for families and communities to thrive. These billboards placed in our communities perpetuate stigma and discrimination. They have no place in our neighborhoods.”