Serving as president and vice president of Right to Life has been an enormous honor and a blessing in our lives. We will always look back at this year fondly, and remember Right to Life as a formative experience. As we begin to transition to our new leadership board, we wanted to reflect upon this year, offer recommendations to the incoming leadership board of Right to Life, and thank those who have made an impact this year.
After 23 events, we believe that one of the most common themes of this year has been pregnancy resources. We hosted our 21st annual pregnancy resource forum in October, to raise awareness of pregnancy resources on campus.
We’ve hosted numerous diaper drives, donating thousands of diapers to women in need in D.C. Our two bake sales raised hundreds of dollars for the NW Pregnancy Resource Center. We have also met with many campus resources to discuss how we can better serve women facing unplanned pregnancies on campus, including representatives from Health Education Services and the Office of Residential Living. We are working on distributing handouts and cards that have campus resources on them to the wider student population. We would love for this to continue to be big initiative of our club, and believe the next step is to have pregnancy resources discussed at New Student Orientation and more comprehensive RA training on the subject. We would also welcome collaboration on this issue from feminist groups on campus.
This brings us to a second theme that we believe has been crucial throughout this past year: failed dialogue. This started primarily in October, when our chalk display to “love them both” was vandalized. Our messages of love were not countered by other messages, but instead erased and crossed over. The chalk incident was not isolated, as H*yas for Choice enforced their distaste for dialogue when protesting the Cardinal O’Connor Conference. While their freedom to express their disagreement is of course important, at one point they chanted “Right to Life has got to go.” Rather than listening and understanding the other side, the reproductive rights advocates argued that our club as a whole should be dismissed. Finally, I was disappointed that while Georgetown Right to Life worked extremely diligently to host a pro-choice/pro-life dialogue featuring prominent speakers of both sides, no progressive group was able to help provide a pro-choice speaker. In fact, H*yas for Choice informed us in an email that “H*yas for Choice has a long-standing policy of not engaging in public, debate-style events on abortion issues. We see abortion as a fundamental human right and don’t view debating whether or not people ought to have access to that right as a constructive, affirming dialogue.” Even without HFC’s support, this was the closest we have come to hosting a type of dialogue like this, and I am hopeful that with perhaps earlier planning a dialogue will be possible in the future.
Although dialogue was difficult to come by this year, we still managed to host many great speakers. Dr. Alveda King spoke to us in August about how abortion affects the African American community.
We went to Yale in October for Vita et Veritas, a pro-life conference. George White spoke in November about his personal experience as a death row inmate who was later cleared of all charges.
In January, we brought a large group to the March for Life, and hosted our annual banquet after the Cardinal O’Connor Conference.
We traveled to Capitol Hill in February to meet with Congressman David Schweikert, who spoke on his experience as an adopted son and as an adoptive father.
In March, we hosted pro-life advocate Stephanie Gray, who presented on pro-life apologetics. In April, we held our annual Life Week, a tradition more than 15 years in the making. During Life Week, we hosted representatives from the Alliance Defending Freedom and Family Research Council to speak on the future of pro-life legislation. We also screened HUSH, a documentary on the health risks of abortion. We invited Mary Forr to speak on the intersection of pro-life issues and disability. Though it rained, we hosted Flag Day to honor the lives of the thousands of children lost each day to abortion.
Finally, we hosted a bake sale to fundraise for the Northwest Center and a diaper drive to support Hope, a pregnancy resource center in Virginia. We hope that these events educated and challenged our members to think deeply about these issues and see how they can make a difference.
This year could not have been possible without a whole lot of lovely people. So, we wanted to close by thanking some of the people who went the extra mile to make this year successful.
Thank you Dr. Jeanne Lord, Right to Life (RTL) faculty advisor, who assisted in planning Life Week and made our Stephanie Gray event possible.
Thank you Julia Greenwood, RTL Treasurer, for going above and beyond this year. We quite literally could not have done it all without your hard work and sunny disposition.
Thank you Hunter Estes, RTL Events Coordinator, for expertly handling each and every one of your projects, and for finding us a tent so that we could make Flag Day possible.
Thank you Richard Howell, RTL Media Chair, for all your work to revitalize our blog. Our readership would not exist without your efforts.
Thank you Havens Clark, RTL On-Campus Service Chair, for planning two wonderful bake sales that raised hundreds of dollars for women in need. RTL is in good hands, and we can’t wait to see what you do next year. We believe in you, and know that you are capable to take on this job.
Thank you Mike Rushka, RTL Off-Campus Service Chair, for being eager to learn and happy to help, no matter the situation.
Thank you Caroline Willcox, Erica Lizza, and Nicolo Orozco, RTL Tabling Co-Chairs, for keeping tabling running every week. It’s not a glamorous job, but you three have done great work this year to represent our club.
Thank you Meredith Kirby, RTL Flyering Chair, for being flexible this year and putting up with our crazy last-minute requests. Your creativity is a blessing, and we want to see your ideas in action next year.
Thank you Andrew Lee, RTL Media Co-Chair, for setting up the table every (or almost every) Wednesday. You stepped up when we needed you.
Thank you Lindsay Caprio, Mitchell Tu, Gabriella Munoz, and Ale Parra for serving on our board in Fall 2016. We appreciate all that you have done for RTL and the pro-life movement at Georgetown.
Thank you to prominent RTL alums graduating this year: Jeannette Joly, Lilly Flashner, Justine Worden, Dominic LaMantia, Julie Reiter. You served as role models for all of us, and we are grateful for the work you did to build this club and serve the pro-life cause. We wish you the very best in your future endeavors, and hope that you work to #savethebabies forever and always.
Thank you to everyone who came to our events and supported our cause this year. We look forward to your continued involvement. There have been many successes and shortcomings throughout this year for our club and the pro-life movement in general. We have had such a wonderful experience leading Georgetown Right to Life and are so excited to see where the club will go next year. We both will continue to defend life this upcoming school year through the Cardinal O’Connor Conference and the Francis Project, but we know the Georgetown Right to Life will continue to be the excellent voice of life and love on campus.
RTL Vice President