March For Life
By Clarisa Rivero '20
An entourage of 55 energetic Viz girls followed 6 faculty chaperones through the airport, the D.C. metro, museums, monuments, and finally the long awaited March for Life last week. Alongside the Viz girls, over 2,400 students from St. Louis Catholic schools and parish youth groups travelled to D.C. to stand up for life. All of St. Louis stayed in the same hotel, and from the minute each school arrived, a wave of joyful energy and excitement filled the air. To prepare for the march, Generation Life organized programming consisting of inspiring speakers, Mass, adoration, and praise and worship. In these sessions, God’s love was undeniably present. I truly cannot think of anything more powerful than encountering God in prayer while surrounded by thousands of teens who are driven to make a difference in the world. The day of the march began with Mass with Archbishop Carlson, followed by the rally, where we heard several Pro-Life speakers give their testimonies. Whether it was adoption stories or hearing from abortion survivors, each speaker moved me profoundly as they described how they have turned the challenges and suffering they have faced, into brave witnesses to the beauty of the gift of life. The march this year was a historic event as well, as President Trump gave a speech at the rally, becoming the first standing US president to attend the March for Life. As we walked through the streets of D.C. following the rally, I tried to soak in everything around me. It’s difficult to fully understand the emotions you experience when walking alongside seas of people with one mission in mind. That feeling is one of hope and empowerment, because life empowers.
I had been on the march my sophomore year with Viz, and it was an incredible experience, but I think my second time going resonated more deeply within me. This past May, I noticed that the pro-life community needed a stronger, more positive voice in the media. The pro-life cause is one that I am very passionate about, so I knew I wanted to do something to stand up for this issue. Feeling compelled to use my voice for the voiceless, I put my love of graphic design to use, and @StandForBoth was born on Instagram. “Stand for Both” promotes the dignity of both unborn children AND their mothers through original, bilingual designs. It encourages others to spread the message of life on social media, while striving to create positive, valuable conversations between people of differing views. Through this platform, I’ve seen civil discussions take place in the comments where people have found common ground despite this being a charged issue. I have received e-mails of gratitude from people inquiring how to help the movement. Friends who do not agree with my side have shared their words of support and encouragement. The pro-life movement does not force women to choose between their child’s life and their own life, and that is what I try to emphasize through my designs: the woman and the child are equally valuable.
Since I have started working on this project, I’ve become more educated about its many aspects and more aware of how desperately action needs to be taken for a difference to happen. With this in mind, I went into the March for Life last week with more resolve and more conviction. I am extremely grateful and proud that Viz has given us the opportunity to be a part of a generation that stands up for life. We are called to respect and defend life at every stage. From the defenseless unborn baby in her mother’s womb, to the malnutritioned child suffering on the street, to the abandoned woman facing a crisis pregnancy, to the companionless elderly man in an assisted living facility. Each human life is a gift from God and is intrinsically valuable from the moment of conception. Accompanied by hundreds of thousands of individuals, last week, I marched for those who cannot march for themselves. If we want to make a difference in our world, if we want our future generations to make a difference in our world, we must begin by giving them the most basic of all rights: the right to life.