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Why we march

Young professionals share their reasons for attending the March for Life

Students from Our Lady of Lourdes Academy in Miami hold up a banner in front of the Supreme Court during the 41 annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Photographer: DANIEL SOÑÉ | Special to the Florida Catholic

Students from Our Lady of Lourdes Academy in Miami hold up a banner in front of the Supreme Court during the 41 annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.

As he shared his reasons for attending the March for Life this year, 29-year-old Aramis L. Perez received a phone call from his airline. His flight for Tuesday evening had been canceled due to a winter storm affecting the region.

But that didn’t deter him from taking the next available flight the following day.

Even though he would miss some anticipated events Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, he said he was “more eager than ever” to make the most of his time in D.C. This was his first time attending the march.

A March for Life participant shares her message with the world via a button on her hoodie.

Photographer: COURTESY PHOTO | Brother Jason Ford

A March for Life participant shares her message with the world via a button on her hoodie.

Attending the March for Life involves some sacrifices for young professionals, yet many are willing to put these aside to attend the yearly event. Many have to seek time off from work, using personal days or sick days to make it to D.C.

“I have a little time I can sacrifice; I have a little money I can sacrifice. Why wouldn’t I do it?” said Perez, a junior account executive at a language services company.

Jorge Arnau, a law enforcement officer in Miami, used a vacation day to attend his first march.

Daniel Diaz, Iboni Richards and Aisha Louis of Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School enjoy a snow day during the March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Photographer: COURTESY PHOTO | Brother Jason Ford

Daniel Diaz, Iboni Richards and Aisha Louis of Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School enjoy a snow day during the March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Arnau, who traveled alone, hoped to meet up with others from Miami for different prolife events, including the vigil at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception the evening before the march.

The March for Life is a great way to “bear corporal witness to the sanctity of life,” said David Rodriguez, a graduate student at Florida International University.

Rodriguez, an alumnus of Christendom College, not far from D.C., has attended the march five times.

“It’s a great Catholic homecoming experience,” he said.

Jacqueline Moreno, an FIU academic advisor in her 30s who went to the march last year, said the trip was worth it — even though she caught the flu her second day there.

“It was truly humbling,” she said of the pilgrimage she attended with a group of college students from her parish, St. Augustine in Coral Gables. “Meals were peanut butter and pasta, and we had to sleep on a gym floor.”

Even though she does not like the cold, and felt the trip took a toll on her health, she recognized it as an unforgettable experience. “The trip was rough on my body, but it was worth it. We prayed and sang all the time. I really got accustomed to the Liturgy of the Hours on the pilgrimage and kept doing them after the trip.”

She hopes that in the future an archdiocesan pilgrimage for young professionals could be organized.

Yet not all young professionals feel they can speak about the march openly.

Some felt apprehension and asked not to be identified for fear that their employer would find out why they had taken time off work. The fear of discrimination is greater for those in the professional field than for those who are students or homemakers.

Not all kept quiet, however.

“It’s our right … to demonstrate, to petition,” said Arnau, adding that his coworkers were not very interested in his activities as a pro-lifer, and made no comments.

One of his coworkers brought up safety concerns when he heard Arnau would be attending a demonstration. Only his church friends expressed gladness and well-wishes.

Like Arnau, Perez did not need to give a reason for taking a personal day at work. He said he will wait for the right opportunity to tell co-workers about it.

“I think they would be puzzled as to why I’d take a day off, buy a plane ticket, and spend hours in the cold for this cause,” he said.

But his involvement in the pro-life movement won’t stop there, he said. He wants to continue marching, attending presentations and vigils, volunteering at events and attending talks by pro-life speakers.

“As I get older,” he said, “I want to spend more and more of my time fighting the good the fight.”
Panoramic view of participants at the 41st annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Photographer: COURTESY PHOTO | Brother Jason Ford

Panoramic view of participants at the 41st annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Comments from readers

Matthew Glynn - 01/25/2014 10:35 AM
This was my first MFL. A blessing to see all the youth, our hope. We must continue to be a witness to the Gospel of Life. Contact your local Respect Life office on how you can be a light to others.

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