by: Jeanne Monahan
August 13, 2013, marked the one-year anniversary of the passing of Nellie Gray, founder of the March for Life (MfL). Nellie’s tireless pro-life work following the decision of Roe and continuing for the next forty years, (until the age of 88!), built the strong foundation upon which the March for Life now continues its work to promote the dignity of the human person.
Following the passing of Nellie the questions were asked by the Board for the March for Life: “What can we do to build on this incredible woman’s legacy? And how can the March for Life further promote a culture of life?” The answers included a strategic expansion of scope of the March for Life, and thus the board brought on new staff to help with digital media, legislative issues, and ecumenical outreach.
As we begin our first monthly newsletter, I’d like to take a few minutes now to share with you some of the work of the March for Life over the course of the past year. Many people often ask MfL staff: “What do you do after January”? In addition to coordinating the largest pro-life gathering in the world every year on the anniversary of the Supreme Court decisions in Roe and Doe, the March for Life staff also works on a day-to-day basis to build a culture of life. It is our ultimate goal to work to create a culture where no woman would ever choose abortion.
One of the ways we do this is through media; the MfL regularly represents the pro-life voice in mainstream news. Over the course of the past year, the MfL has been interviewed on such major outlets as the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, National Review, and Washington Post on a variety of issues related to a culture of life, including speaking out on Emergency Contraception (which can act as an abortifacient), the safety of abortion clinics, and adoption, among other themes. Please check out our website to view or read any of these interviews: marchforlife.org.
We also work to educate the public about the inherent dignity of the human person through new media: in 2013, our Facebook presence increased from under 1,000 to close to 14,000, with daily posts that are content-rich. We have over four thousand followers on Twitter, with daily tweets on pertinent issues. We also have a blog with regular posts with themes touching on a broad array of issues impacting a culture of life – from chastity to college pro-life involvement to stories about some of our favorite pro-life heroes.
In the way of more traditional education, this past year, the March for Life has offered presentations at a vast array of conferences and events, including a bioethics conference in Rome, Italy; events in Michigan, New Jersey, Connecticut, Indiana, and numerous schools and universities. We are also hosting briefings on Capitol Hill on related topics; on Sept. 10 we partnered in a briefing on adoption as a noble option.
Last but not least, we are very busy in January, too! Last January offered increased media coverage of the March from the Washington Post to MSNBC. We had the first annual 5K run on the day following the MfL. The Youth Rally and Law Summit had record breaking crowds. The March itself included hundreds of thousands of participants marching past the Supreme Court in densely packed crowds for well over two hours. This all requires a great deal of planning.
You can see that we are busy – not only in January, but year-round! In August, our staff expanded significantly to meet the increased work-load — you will have a chance to read about the wonderful MfL team in this newsletter. We also recently moved into historic staff offices in Washington, DC. It has been a year of transition, and an exciting year. We are now excited to continue the good work that has begun.