Students rally for life

On Jan. 22, thousands of people gathered outside the state capitol building to celebrate the gift of life.


courtesy of Mrs. Patterson

Mrs. Tara Patterson, Coordinator of Campus Evangelization, enjoys the rally with Xavier students.

On the anniversary of Rowe vs. Wade, students and families from all around the Valley gathered in downtown Phoenix to march 13 blocks, one block for every thousand lives lost to abortion every year in Arizona.

When marchers reached their final destination at the Wesley Bolin Plaza, they were treated to an afternoon of music and good conversation. The Arizona Life Rally welcomed several speakers who talked about their experiences as pro-life activists. Among these speakers were abortion survivor Gianna Jessen and Bishop Olmsted.

Bishop Olmsted started his speech by leading the crowd in a prayer, calling for the protection of the dignity of the human person. The Bishop explained that because he was ordained the same year of the Roe vs. Wade decision, he has felt that it is especially his moral obligation to defend the unborn.

Jessens’ story started 38 years ago, when she miraculously survived a saline abortion. Jessen was born a two-pound baby with a disability known as cerebral palsy, a motor condition that affects the way the body moves. After spending the first three months of her life in the hospital, she was placed in foster care, and eventually was adopted at the age of four. She credits the influence of her family and Christian upbringing with helping her stay positive and focused on becoming an advocate for the voiceless.

Xavier students flooded the scene of the rally, bringing over 300 girls to the event. Junior Esmeralda Ledezma said, “The rally was truly an event full of happiness and joy all around. From the good vibes from all the people to the incredible testimonies from the speakers, I really enjoyed it.”

Ledezma was not the only student to come back with such a positive experience. Junior Meredith Grehan also explained how great the day was, “to spread the message that life matters. The speakers really emphasized the importance of protection of the unborn.”

Although abortion remains legal nationwide, peaceful demonstrations such as this continue to play a big part in restoring the dignity of human life as they are a constant reminder to be a voice for the voiceless.

Theology teacher Mrs. Gina Iker found the day an inspiration and a reminder of the work of Pope John Paul II. She said, “Too often abortion can be a divisive issue in our culture, but at the Arizona March and Rally for Life we saw so many young people courageously and publicly confront the culture of death with honesty and compassion. Pope St. John Paul II was an outspoken champion of the dignity and sanctity of human life, and he repeatedly encouraged, especially young people, to “be not afraid”. We are seeing the fruits of his life’s work and his powerful intercession.”