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Heckler puts its foot down: Red Square table mocks Right to Life, promotes reproductive justice

February 10, 2023

Right to Feet table next to the Right to Life table. Later in the afternoon, Right to Feet was asked to obscure its logo and the word "Georgetown," which it did with tape. Photo by Joanna Li

Georgetown Right to Life (GURTL) never quite sat right with David Edwards (CAS ’24), mainly because of the organization’s anti-abortion mission, but also due to its logo.

“It’s kind of odd, their logo. It’s a big foot and a heart,” Edwards said. 

The peculiar design choice inspired Edwards to take action yesterday by tabling next to GURTL, with an unconventional twist: poking his feet out from the baby blue banner that adorned the table, which read “Georgetown Right to Feet” and contained a replica of the GURTL logo. As a member of the Georgetown Heckler, this urge to organize to satirize GURTL’s anti-abortion rhetoric and its emblem had long been brewing—since November 2022, according to Edwards. 

“Last semester, [the Heckler was] tabling, and we were looking at their banner,” Edwards said. “We were like, ‘Why the foot? Is it like a foot fetish thing?’ And so, we were like, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if we made the exact same banner as them, but for feet, and got next to them?’”

Over winter break, Edwards ordered the banner he envisioned—but that was just the first step of his mission. He held off for the perfect moment to unveil his creation after it was delivered. “We waited for them to come back outside this semester, because they were in the Leavey area a lot. Because I guess if it’s too cold outside, the ‘murder’ doesn’t matter as much,” he said.

Red Square, compared to the Leavey Center, is significantly more accessible for tabling. “We wanted to for sure be in the free speech zone,” Edwards said. “This seemed better. There’s at least more ways to run away.”

On Feb. 9, a pleasant, fateful mid-winter day that happened to nearly reach 70 degrees, Edwards noticed GURTL at Red Square around 11 a.m., and immediately decided to seize the long-awaited opportunity to table next to them. 

“I walked through [Red Square] this morning and I saw them. I had a meeting and I tried to get through the meeting as fast as possible, then ran back to my apartment to get the banner,” Edwards told us. “It was sort of on the wall of my apartment as a piece of art.”

“This morning, I woke up to [a text from Edwards] saying ‘Right to Life is tabling, I need to find a table, stat,’” Zan Haq (SFS ’24), one of Edwards’ roommates, said.

According to Haq, Edwards set up his booth in the span of 20 minutes, and proceeded to expose his bare feet to fully commit to the bit. “I mean, who would’ve thought you could busk with your feet?” Haq said.

Beyond the satirical humor that captured the attention of Georgetown students throughout the day, Edwards aimed to advocate for abortion rights. Complementary candies, along with fliers that included a QR code to Planned Parenthood’s donation page, were available at the table. “Please donate to them or any other reproductive rights group,” Edwards told students stopping by.

Initially, the atmosphere between the two tables was peaceful. “They seemed pretty chill with it. They were laughing,” Haq said. But a few hours later, this cordiality dissipated.

According to Edwards, Matteo Caulfield, a member of GURTL and co-director of the recent Cardinal O’Connor Conference on life, attempted to remove Right to Feet from Red Square.

“He took [a flier] to I think the [Center for Student Engagement (CSE)] office and filed a complaint because the fliers had a link to Planned Parenthood to donate, and we said ‘Georgetown University’ on them,” Edwards said. “And then he came over and also filed a claim for using their logo, the feet and the heart.”

“The ‘Right to Feet’ tabling group was using our club logo and Georgetown’s name to advertise a QR code for donating to an organization [Planned Parenthood] that promotes and performs human dismemberment, which is against Georgetown’s Catholic Identity,” GURTL president Alissa Keegan (CAS ’23) wrote in an email to the Voice

Usage of the university’s name, however, is not prohibited for clubs that support reproductive rights. Clubs such as Georgetown University College Democrats have outwardly advocated for abortion rights while maintaining “Georgetown” in their names. H*yas for Choice, Georgetown’s currently unaffiliated club advocating for abortion rights, operated with university funds as “GU Choice” in 1991. The word “for”, after the club’s name change, was what prompted the asterisk, as the university thought “for Choice” inaccurately implied that all students were pro-choice. 

Nonetheless, Right to Feet agreed to take their fliers down. “We did understand that we might not be in a winning position with Georgetown University,” Edwards explained. 

But Right to Feet tablers refused to be pushed out of Red Square. “We have to at least outlast them,” Evelyn Blanchette (CAS ’25), who had joined Edwards in tabling, said. After speaking with a CSE official “who was very nice,” Right to Feet was allowed to continue tabling at Red Square but had to cover up their logo and censor the word “Georgetown” with tape, according to Edwards and Blanchette.

Despite the altercation with GURTL, Right to Feet garnered community support. “Whenever David’s doing his bits, I always like to support. It’s for a good cause,” Kumail Zaidi (SFS ’24), one of Edwards’ roommates, said. 

“Lots of people were around and seemed to be supporting us,” Blanchette said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to come back out some other time. And we do want to try and find some other way to raise money for Planned Parenthood or other causes. We just have to figure out some more grounds for that, I guess.”

“I think it’s just a nice, simple bit,” Edwards said. “I don’t know what the Voice’s rule for including advocacy stuff in the article is, but if you could include the flier, some links, anything to donate to reproductive rights, that’s—I mean obviously, you know, this is hugely attention-seeking, but also we would like people to donate.”

“Ideally, we will be back in greater force.”

Joanna Li
Eons ago, Joanna was the executive news editor. Much has changed, but she still enjoys chess, researches altruism, and has a lot of love for people in this magazine. A lot.

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