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Diversity on display at life march

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Various faiths, ages, ethnicities increasingly participating
By Agnieszka Krawczynski


Photo: Young vegan Jezabel Poirier holds a handmade sign saying "Pro-all-lives" at March for Life. (Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic)

A diverse contingent of pro-lifers gathered at the B.C. Legislature May 11, and the growing representation of young people was never as apparent.

In fact, there was broad representation from all ages, ideologies, and ethnicities in the March for Life, which every year draws about 2,000 people to Government Street in Victoria for a peaceful demonstration against abortion.

“I’m pro-all-lives, obviously the unborn as well as the animals,” said Jezabel Poirier, a young vegan who held up a handmade sign as she marched with thousands of others.

It was Poirier’s second time at the march. “A couple of years ago I heard of the March for Life in the U.S. and I thought it would be really awesome if I could attend one. Then I found out we did have one in Canada! So I came,” she said. “It’s good to be here.”

Other young marchers included dozens high school students of various faiths. The majority were Catholics from schools including Notre Dame, Holy Cross, and St. Thomas More. For the first time ever, there were also two busloads of students from Credo Christian High School, a Christian Reformed school in Langley.

“We’re for all kinds of political lobbying, holding up Reform values,” said Leah Bredenhof, a Grade 12 student and the president of her school’s Association for Reformed Political Action club.

The student club, inspired by the national organization of the same name, is pro-life and interested in promoting freedom of speech and freedom of religion, said Bredenhof.

“We just want to make our voices heard, especially as young people,” she said. “The stereotype can be that it’s all older white men who are coming out to support this kind of thing and are taking away women’s reproductive rights. We have the younger generation here and that’s really important.”

The students held their pro-life signs alongside a handful of enthusiastic Anglicans for Life and first- and second-time marchers from Temple Yeshua, a congregation in Victoria that confesses belief in the Holy Trinity while reaching back to Christianity’s Jewish roots.

“We made a conscious effort from a denominational perspective to include – in addition to the Roman Catholic presence – the Anglican community, the Reformed community, and other Christian denominations,” said March for Life organizer and Catholic John Hof.

“Speaking for life isn’t a Catholic issue. Speaking for life is way more than that. Our motivation to do it comes from our faith, but it also comes from a human rights perspective.”

He added the March for Life in Victoria has become more ethnically diverse over the years.

“It should be the driving force for mankind’s existence: to stop the elimination of the weakest, most vulnerable people. That’s the motivation for making it so much more interdenominational.”

Victoria’s Catholic shepherd, Bishop Gary Gordon, urged Christian marchers to unite if they want their message heard.

“This is the work, the way forward, the motus operandi of the life movement in Canada, certainly within the diocese of Victoria and all of B.C.: to sing of the steadfast love of the Lord. To not abandon anyone. To come alongside,” he said during his homily at St. Andrew’s Cathedral an hour before the march.

“How am I going to be able to be close to all of the Catholics on Vancouver Island when only 8,000 of them go to church on Sunday? What am I going to do? I don’t have to think about doing it alone,” he continued.

“I have some good priests. I have all of you. Together, we can sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, remain hopeful, and bear the suffering of others.”

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 08:08  

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