Guest blog post by Anthony Jones
I had no idea what I was getting into. I thought it would just be something that I worked on for half an hour a week before sharing it with a few friends. Little did I know, starting and running a pro-life club at my public high school would be the most challenging, yet inspiring, endeavor I had ever embarked upon.
My personal involvement in the pro-life movement had been limited but positive: I had attended the March for Life, participated in the Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity, and passionately engaged in discussions about abortion with my peers whenever I could. That all changed in August of 2015 when my friend and I went to an event hosted by George Mason University’s Students for Life group that focused on starting pro-life clubs at high schools. Although I had considered starting a pro-life club before, it had always seemed too daunting and demanding a project. After hearing the heart-wrenching testimony of a woman who had undergone multiple abortions at the event, I realized that I had a responsibility to start a pro-life club in order to protect the lives of both women and their children from the evil of abortion, no matter the cost.
With the start of the school year rapidly approaching, my friend and I contacted our amazing Students for Life Regional Coordinator, who expertly helped us form a plan for our life-affirming aspirations. On the first day of school, we went to our Assistant Director of Student Activities to pick up the necessary forms. Unfortunately, he informed us that the forms hadn’t been released yet and told us to come back in about a week. Upon our return, our hopes were again shattered by the unavailability of the paperwork. For the next three months, we eagerly went back to check on the forms almost every week, but to no avail. Yet we would not allow this small setback to hinder our mission.
In the meantime, we were quick to secure two outstanding sponsors for the club and began to form a list of students who would be interested in attending if it ever came to be. We talked to countless peers about the prospective club at both school and our local church’s youth group, granting us the opportunity to begin a fruitful and respectful dialogue about abortion in the community. Not surprisingly, the idea of a loving group at school where all perspectives could be honestly explored garnered support from both pro-life and pro-choice students alike. By the time we were finally able to turn in the club application form, 103 brave students had signed the interest sheet, a number that greatly exceeded the mere 25 students required to start a club. This astounding response was truly inspiring and proved that our school was the perfect place for pro-life activism.
Although the life of our club had begun at its inception in August, Rams for Life was finally born as an official club on December 17, 2015. Rather than that being the end of the story, it was just the beginning. After sending out a call for leadership positions, I received eight eager responses. We then tirelessly began planning for the club’s public debut through leader meetings, a tour of our local pregnancy resource center, and connecting with our regional coordinator. When our flyers were torn down, our club condemned on social media, and our morning announcements video booed at by students, I assured my fellow leaders that it should be viewed in a positive light: not only were others aware of our work and mission to defend the defenseless, but the controversy was inspiring earnest conversations about abortion to spring up around the entire school! Despite various setbacks, we eventually had an interest meeting in early February. To my surprise, about 50 eager students filled up the room and all 10 boxes of pizza were consumed. It was inexpressibly inspiring.
Since then, we’ve hosted a successful diaper and baby item drive, a training event given by our regional coordinator, and three successful meetings exploring the humanity of the preborn. Recently, Rams for Life won the 2016 Students for Life New Club of the Year award, a humbling honor that further confirmed the progress we are making. My friends and I continue to grow in our understanding pro-life apologetics while lovingly promoting the rights of all human beings to those around us. Despite the sundry challenges we have faced in publicly promoting the pro-life position, every second has been worth it. Not only are we making a tangible difference in the lives of mothers and babies in need, but I can sense the culture of life being spread throughout the school. The tide is turning, but it falls upon you and me to ignite that flame within our communities, one heart at a time.
Anthony attends Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, VA, and will graduate in 2017.