Who doesn’t love a good story of redemption? We rightfully cheer individuals who move from darkness to light, and work to persuade those who are still blind to truth and justice. Our Nation as a whole has gone through many of these movements. Consider the abolition of slavery and the civil rights movement, when laws and our culture were changed by being awakened to the injustice of slavery and second-class citizenship for black Americans. That’s why we celebrate African American History Month in February, which according to the Library of Congress serves to “pay tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society.”
As defenders of life, we seek to see “awakenings” or conversions from pro-abortion to pro-life and to open the public’s eyes to the injustice of abortion; an act that brutally takes the life of an unborn child. Dr. Martin Luther King’s words motivate us to protect future Americans in the womb — “Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Many African Americans have been an instrumental part of the pro-life movement. Throughout February, the Radiance Foundation has highlighted some of these heroes, including the late Dr. Mildred Jefferson, who was the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School. She used her talents to expose the evil of the eugenics movement, in addition to co-founding the National Right to Life.
Unfortunately, we sometimes see “reverse conversions.” That is, when an individual has spoken out for the truth and then taken a “180o.” Case in point, the Rev. Jesse Jackson. In 1978, 5 years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, Rev. Jackson was a featured speaker for the March for Life activities due to his outspoken work to promote a constitutional amendment banning abortion and for his leadership in the formation of the parent organization to CareNet.
However, a few years after his March for Life appearance, the Rev. Jackson reversed course and has been radically pro-abortion ever since. Let us not give up hope that he would once again see the light. Perhaps, the latest news out of New York City will convict him –the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Vital Statistics just released a report for 2012 for Pregnancy Outcomes revealing that in 2012, there were more black babies killed by abortion (31,328) in New York City than were born there (24,758).” The number of abortions alone in the Big Apple is disturbing, but the disproportionate number of abortions for African Americans makes the information even more alarming.
We can take great inspiration from leaders like Dr. King and Dr. Jefferson who spoke out against evil and “injustice everywhere.” By speaking the truth and defending life, we can change hearts and minds one by one.