By Blake Adams and Courtney Crandell (originally published in the PHC Herald)
Patrick Henry College
PHC students at the March for Life
Braving bitter cold and snow on January 25, over 60 PHC students, about one-sixth of the student body, participated in the March for Life in Washington, D.C.
According to a study by the Washington Post, the majority of participants were teenagers and young adults, and the PHC contingent melted into the islands of matching hats in a sea of protestors brandishing signs that echoed this year’s theme, boldly declaring that they were part of a “Pro-Life Generation.”
Congregating under a large pro-life sign – “We Are Abortion Abolitionists” – the PHC students stamped feet and rubbed hands as they waited for the March to begin, joining their voices to loud megaphone chants of “We! Are! The pro-life generation!”
As the 1:30 start time approached, the crowd moved toward the intersection of Constitution Avenue. The PHC group settled into the throng, a demographically diverse cross-section of the nation: nuns, monks, Hassidic Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Hispanics, Caucasians, and African-Americans, all filing up Constitution Avenue, then turning up 1st Street with the U.S. Capitol in plain view.
In front of the Supreme Court building, PHC students paused, noting the building front proclaiming, “Equal Justice for All.”
While a separate group of Pro-Choice protestors rallied in front of the Supreme Court, students from the College, seeing the media corps trained on the counter-protestors, planted themselves in clear view of the cameras. “The crowd went nuts,” said senior Cody Holt. “People were coming up and thanking us.”
The robust student involvement at the event was coordinated by the recently established Patrick Henry College Students for Life, headed by Emily Nowak. “In the past, one of our students would typically organize the trip, then he or she would graduate,” noted club vice president Michelle Fillebrown. “The pro-life club will create a mechanism so things will continue even after people graduate.”
Standing before the forest of pro-life banners, March for Life Education and Defense Fund Chairman Patrick Kelly declared the three-fold vision of the March: “…to be the world’s largest human rights demonstration, to overturn the tragic Roe v. Wade decision, and to build a culture of life in this country.” Pausing to cheers, he then continued: “When I look out at this crowd, I see a culture of life.”
PHC sophomore Michaela Hoyle at the March for Life
Nowak said PHC’s enviable presence toward the front of the March made for an exceptional experience and created lifetime memories. “Contrary to past years, we were able to see what was going on,” she said. “It was definitely not a cleaned-up version of the March. There were people there who hated us, and I think that was good for us to see.”
The PHC Students for Life club will operate under the umbrella of the Students for Life of America, which provided the signs that PHC students used during the march. The club is currently looking for more student members in order to “get out and represent the College and serve the community,” Holt said. Besides participating in the March, PHC Students for Life have also gone done door-to-door, as well as other volunteer work. “I’m very excited,” Holt added. “It’s exciting that someone’s making the effort.”