On Marching for Life: Reflections From the 2017 MFL

From L to R: Kara, Parawee, Flannery, Pauline, Julia, and Weronika at the 2017 MFL.

On January 27, 2017, WYA sent two staff members and four interns to Washington, D.C., for the March for Life. See the press release here, and find post-March reflections from the group below.

Ever since my first trip to D.C. for the March, years ago, my favorite moment during has been cresting the hill just before the Supreme Court building, and turning to look at the flow of bodies down the hill, down the National Mall, as far as the eye can catch. Person, after person, after person of every age, gathered to stand for a belief in the intrinsic dignity of the person, one, but also two, in a call to build a social structure that helps people live this dignity—a society that aids mothers, fathers, and their children. It’s a powerful sight.

Something changes in a woman’s body when she becomes a mother (our work at FEMM helps demonstrate these changes), and I think something changes in her being and heart, also, a being and heart fundamentally built for relationship—and I find great joy in standing, year in and year out, with others in the call to protect her, even when she may not realize that she needs to be protected.

Weronika Janczuk (New York City), WYANA Regional Director

This year’s March was unlike any other. I have gone many times in the past with my school or with friends, but being there as a WYA intern made it different. I felt more involved. I was aware of the fact that, unlike most of the crowd, I was privileged. Many men and women and children came from all corners of America on this special day to defend the dignity of human life from the moment of conception, and this enormous measure of solidarity happens once a year. But as a WYA team member, I get to do that every day! I am grateful to be a #DignityDefender, and I was proud to talk to the crowds and families about WYA, and they were proud of and grateful to me too. Although there were many teachers, priests, etc., there whose work is vital, we do very unique pro-life work on the vanguard of international policy at the United Nations.

Flannery McGale (Washington, D.C), 2017 Batch 1 WYANA Intern

The March was a valuable learning experience. It taught me to listen, and to pay careful attention to the stories that people want to share. It allowed me to craft a more comprehensive picture of various sectors in society, and to examine how people reached the conclusions that they did. Set in the backdrop of a democracy that constitutionally guarantees free speech, the event is an interesting melting pot — there was also an opportunity to take a look at those who identify as being on other parts of the spectrum, or those who understand things differently, and I liked listening to what they have to say. More than anything, I think it is admirable, the sacrifices that people make to stand for what they believe in — some of these people travelled miles and expended considerable effort to attend the event, and they thought nothing of it, because such is their conviction that they are defending what is right, and what should be recognized as such in society and in the law. It is interesting from a psychological perspective to observe and explore what intrinsic mechanisms are at play that are so powerful that they incite mass action.

Kara Medina (Philippines), 2017 Batch 1 WYAHQ Intern

The March was, admittedly, one of the most surreal experiences I’ve ever had. As we headed to where it was going to start, I was having this big adrenaline rush. I had no idea what to expect! Sure, I watched YouTube videos about it and I read articles about it online, but I knew that the real thing would be different. At first, I was expecting the event to be an intimate gathering of a couple hundred people. But what greeted me were thousands of marchers, walking around as if it weren’t freezing cold outside.

As I walked around the venue, I started to realize that this March didn’t just consist of adults. I was incredibly surprised to see so many young people there. Pre-schoolers, high schoolers, college kids, and even babies were running around, waving flags, carrying posters, and wearing themed t-shirts. I was taken aback at first, but then, I started to feel a sense of pride. I realized that this was probably one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever witnessed in my lifetime. Why? Well, growing up, I’ve experienced how young people like me would be bashed by those who were older. I’ve been told that, no, I couldn’t have an opinion on things because I had no idea what I was talking about. I’ve seen college kids like me get shushed because we, apparently, didn’t know what was going on in the real world.

But standing there that day, with thousands of young people around me, made me realize how powerful our voices could all be if we always had this kind of solidarity. It’s not every day that we are given the chance to come together to fight for a cause like this, and being a part of the March made me realize that we, as young people, have so much capability and strength to make society a better place to live in, not just for today, but for the future as well.

I came out of that march feeling amazed, motivated, and inspired. I’m truly excited for this generation and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Pauline Superable (Philippines), 2017 Batch 1 WYA Fnd. Marketing Intern

I got an opportunity to join the WYA road trip from Manhattan to Washington, D.C. It was a long trip but I was super excited. Little that I know that the March for Life has been happening for more than four decades. This year I am so delighted to be a part of this, seeing young people gathered together at the Washington Monument. Listening to the vice president’s speech will be one of the experiences that I will keep forever This was the first time that vice president of the United States gave the speech in front of the crowd.

No surprise that the number of people coming this year is nearly a million, because life is so important and it will always win, no matter what. I think everyone should be pro-life, no matter what his or her religion, gender or nationality is. It is important to celebrate life and to loving one another regardless of the differences. I hope this March continue in the US for as long as it can, and spread out to other countries, and more in Asia.

Parawee Techapermphon (Thailand), 2017 Batch 1 WYAHQ Intern

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