Students travel to DC to March for Life, protesting abortion

Southeastern students attend March for Life in Washington D.C>

Students attend the March for Life in Wasghinton D.C.
Courtesy of Alexis Flores

Twenty-seven college students from the state of Louisiana, including three from the university, went to Washington D.C. for the March for Life. Due to being snowed in, the trip ended up due to being snowed in by Winter Storm Jonas.

Though the March for Life Conference was cancelled, the students were still able to enjoy other activities that were planned for Thursday, January 21, the morning after arrival.

“We got to D.C. late Wednesday night,” said senior communication major Alexis Flores. “We were up early on Thursday morning to attend Geaux Forth, which is a conference hosted by Louisiana Right to Life for Louisiana High school students attending the March for Life. It was cool to see so many young people from our state all gathered together in D.C., Friday was the actual March. There was a rally before it began with several speakers.”

The March for Life happens every year around the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade case in which the decision to have abortion legalized was made.

People from around the nation, as well as the world, were marching together with a common goal in mind, to end abortion. The march took place on January 22.

“On Friday, we marched with people from all over the world for about a mile from the National Mall by the Washington Monument to the Capitol in silent, prayerful protest,” said freshman double degree in biological sciences and political science Grace Taffaro. “There were over 500,000 people there, ranging from high school students to politicians from most of the 50 states and even France and the Netherlands.”

The March for Life included people of all ages.

“There were high school students there from all over the country,” said Flores. “Also, many pro-life organizations were represented at the March. Save the Storks, a group that runs mobile crisis pregnancy centers, had a really big presence this year. Silent No More, a group that helps post abortive women share their stories and find healing, always shows up to events like this. More like And Then There Were None, Online for Life and Priests for Life all marched as well.” 

Though the March for Life has a large participation of marchers, some feel as if the media does not portray the extent of how involved people are in the day.

“It’s crazy that more people don’t know about it because there are usually 100 to 200 thousand participants,” said Flores. “Mainstream media just doesn’t give it the coverage it deserves. There are also marches in every, or almost every state around the same time.”

The main goal for some of the marchers is to see abortion come to an end through political leaders.

“I originally traveled to D.C. for the prayerful protest to protect the innocents lives lost to abortion everyday in the U.S.,” said Flores. “We hope to be a witness to others, especially world leaders and people in politically powerful positions, to protect human life from conception to natural death.”

The day after the march, the Students for Life of America Conference was planned but cancelled. Though the students in attendance were looking forward to the event, they were able to enjoy time in the snow.

“We were all supposed to attend the Students for Life of America conference,” said Flores. “I was really looking forward to that, but it was cancelled because of the weather. The snow really came down Friday night and all day Saturday. From Friday until we left Tuesday, we were completely free. We really had a blast hiking all over a frozen D.C.”

An issue arose when the students realized that they were going to have to stay for an extended stay and needed to make plans on how to fund the unexpected cost of extra days in a hotel and for food. 

The Louisiana Students for Life President Cisco Gonzales who attends Louisiana State University took action and set up a gofundme account for the extra expenses and shared it across social media. 

According to the gofundme account that was set up by Gonzales, “We hosted a fundraiser to help alleviate the costs of the trip.  College is expensive, so we hosted a fundraiser with a chance to win an iPad, a $100.00 Ruth Chris Gift Card and a T.V.  With this fundraiser, some students were able to pay for their trip costs of $500.00 and $100.00 in spending money.  This was designed for Wednesday through Saturday.  If you have not seen the latest news, while we were in Our Nation’s Capital, Winter Storm Jonas has snowed us in.  We are not able to fly out until Tuesday, and we did not anticipate extending our stay until Tuesday.  As I stated before, we are college students, and Washington, D.C. is expensive.  Please consider donating; anything helps.  The $3,000.00 will cover the two extra nights in a hotel for 28 people.”

The goal of 3,000 dollars was met with a bit more than expected.

“Twenty seven college students can reach out to a lot of people,” said Flores. “We actually ended up with enough donations to cover the extra hotel costs and donate the leftover to the Woman’s New Life Center.”

Some students have seen snow before, but it was still a unique experience providing a chance for the Louisiana college students to grow closer, make new memories and learn to deal with stressful situations that may arise in life.

“Though I’d seen snow before, I hadn’t seen it in this high volume,” said Taffaro. “Be accepting of challenges that arise and be ready for anything life throws at you. I think stress was a little high for the students who were having to miss extra classes because we couldn’t fly out when we were supposed to, but after we accepted the news, we kind of all got closer and had the time to get to know each other.”

Others learned that lessons could continually be learned, no matter the stage of life one may be at.

“I did learn a lot,” said Flores. “Even in your senior year, there are bigger things in life than school. When you face your fears and do what you believe is right, regardless of the opinions of others, you will feel relief. Sometimes what seems like an unfortunate situation can provide four of the best days of your life.”

One unexpected memory did occur for those who made the trip that will be a fond memory for the future. 

“The metro was free on Monday because it had closed for a few days and it was only partially operational,” said Flores. “That was a nice surprise. We also found out that there is a Snowball Fight Association in D.C. They organized a Star Wars themed snowball fight. If we had had a conference, we wouldn’t have been able to attend that.”

For those who may not know in what area they should focus making a difference in or who may want to start helping the cause of ending abortion, Flores encourages students to start with some basic research.

“If anyone wants to make a difference in this area, they should start by reading about it,” said Flores. “Read and talk about it with anyone you can. That is how I became involved, and educating yourself is a critical first step.”

With new friendships, fond memories, unexpected cancelation of events due to a winter snowstorm and a cause to stand up for what one believes in, this will not be the last time for some of the students from the university to travel to Washington, D.C. for the March for Life. 

“I plan to attend every year until abortion is no longer legal and the innocent lives are protected,” said Taffaro.