This weekend, we took steps closer (thousands to be exact!) to reaching our goal of an abortion-free Louisiana! Both in Baton Rouge, across Louisiana, and in Washington DC, our state made a clear case that abortion must become a thing of the past.
Our weekend was exciting and hectic, as we organized three events, spoke at an extra one, and fielded media requests throughout.
Saturday: Louisiana Life March
While the rain may have scared a few people from attending, it did not dampen the spirits of the 3,500+ marchers that took to the streets of Baton Rouge to stand for a culture of life.
Led by the rich sounds of Baton Rouge Pipes and Drums and Senator Broome's opening prayer, the "massive" crowd, as defined by Sunday's front-page Advocate article
, made its way to the State Capitol.
On the steps, Bishop Dominic Carmon of New Orleans ledin prayer. Senator David Vitter expressed admiration forthe pro-lifers present, especially young people, and stressed the importance of remaining active in
|Senator Sharon Broome and Pastor Fred Luter Jr.|
the legislative process.
As the keynote speaker, Pastor Fred Luter Jr. of New Orleans, First Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention, delivered a rousing address reminding Louisiana that "only God should end life." Marcia Schnexider of Life After Choice Recovery delivered her testimony of hope, and Gene Mills of the Louisiana Family Forum led the release of thousands of pink and blue balloons to commemorate the lives lost to abortion (see a great photo from the Advocate here
I was honored to emcee the event and share a few words, including the story of a young women in New Orleans last week who walked out of an abortion facility after seeing the ultrasound of her unborn child. Her child will soon have a birthday as a direct result of the 2010 Ultrasound Before Abortion Act!
Afterwards, there was fantastic participation in the Life Ministry Mobilization tent, where 25+ pro-life ministriesshared their work with visitors.
|Gene Mills leads release of balloons|
Many thanks also goes to our sponsors, speakers, and volunteers. Most important, I would like to thank the thousands of pro-life Louisianians who came out to support the Louisiana Life March. Thanks to your participation, we have set a precedent that we will not be silent.
Sunday: Geaux Forth in Washington DC & Ben Speaks in Ville Platte
About 24 hours after the Louisiana Life March, 1,000 high school students from across Louisiana gathered on Sunday morning at the Hyatt Crystal City for our 3rd Annual "Geaux Forth: Louisiana's Preaux Life Rally in DC".
|Crowd at Geaux Forth|
Geaux Forth is designed to equip students attending the March for Life in DC with the knowledge, know-how, and inspiration to return home and be active in spreading the pro-life message.
Our speakers were first-class, including both
David Bereit and Shawn Carney from 40 Days for Life. All agreed that this was the best Geaux Forth yet. We cannot wait to see the impact these students have on Louisiana!
Great work, especially to Kacie Hampton, our Youth Programs Director, for organizing and running the event.
While the rest of our staff was in DC, I spent the day in Ville Platte speaking to a group of 100 pro-lifers, mostly under the age of 20.
Monday: March for Life in DC and Congressional Reception
Yesterday, the March for Life spilled out across the streets
of Washington DC to speak out against 39 years of judicially-mandated abortion.
After the March, hundreds of Louisianians packed into the Senate Hart Building for the Louisiana Pro-Life Congressional Reception, hosted by Louisiana Right to Life with the instrumental help of Senator Vitter.
Senator Vitter was joined by Congressmen Boustany, Cassidy, Fleming, Landry, and Scalise to discuss the important life issues facing our nation. The main issues on the minds of attendees were the funding of Planned Parenthood and removing the abortion provisions of health care reform.
Our board member Sharon Rodi emceed the event, while two of our staff members, Kacie Hampton and Margaret Johnson, planned and ran the event.
Today, Tomorrow, and the Rest of the Year: Continue Marching for Life
While these events are certainly very encouraging and inspiring, I have always believed that they cannot be an end in themselves. We must take these events and be committed, in very practical ways, to spreading the culture of life. As I shared Sunday in Ville Platte, every one of us has a specific role to play in this great cause. Do not let a day go by without fulfilling that role.
Stay tuned shortly for more information from Louisiana Right to Life about projects and efforts you can partake in to defend life. Let us not be weary in advocating on behalf of the innocent!! I believe, together, we can create an abortion-free state!
For a Pro-Life Louisiana,
Louisiana Right to Life
P.S. Louisiana Right to Life spent a lot of time, energy, and funds this weekend to make these events possible. However, we could not have done it without the help of so many people. From all events this weekend, we would like to thank....
- Deacon Mike Chiappetta and Marriage and Family Life Office
- Dr. Zeb Stearns
- Senator David Vitter
- Cynthia Johnson, Sign Interpreter
- Dave Goldsmith and the Baton Rouge Pipes and Drums
- Vince Whittington, Russell Ruh, Leo Segalla, and the Knights of Columbus
- Calco Travels and Hotard Coaches
- Barry Almon and the Entire 3:45 AM Balloon Crew
- Other LA Life March Volunteers
- Life Ministry Mobilization Participants
- Louisiana Family Forum and Church of St. Amant
- Danny Nation, Dr. David Hankins, Kelly Boggs, and the Louisiana Baptist Convention
- LA Catholic Conference of Bishops
- All bus captains who organized groups to attend
- Baton Rouge Catholic Radio WBYR
- Speakers at all events
- Speedy Gonzales, Charlotte Bergeron, and 40 Days for Life Baton Rouge
- And all the others we forgot to mention!