Tens of thousands of people from all backgrounds, ages, and religious backgrounds gathered together in San Francisco this past Saturday to stand for the sanctity of human life at the 2018 West Coast Walk for Life. Together they marched, chanting and singing in unity to the sound of drums and guitars. They held signs showing the many reasons why they marched, and who they marched for.
Of the many pro-lifers who were there, hundreds of young adults from around the San Joaquin Valley attended with their friends or with their youth groups. Fresno State Students for Life and Madera High School Students for Life attended, along with busloads of youth groups from the Shrine of St. Therese, St. Anthony’s, and St. Joachim’s churches. Jorge Mendoza, who is a seminarian with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, made the trek down from Oregon and attended alongside his group, Seminarians for a Culture of Life, as well as other seminarians from Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon.
Jorge has been attending the West Coast Walk for many years and discussed the impact the Walk has had. “Through our peaceful participation in these events, we become a living sign to others of the importance of standing for the dignity of all people,” said Mendoza. “We come together from many different faiths and points of view, putting aside all things which divide us, to be a voice for the voiceless.”
Also attending the walk for the eighth time was Yvette Villa, a member of the youth group at St. Joachim’s Catholic Church in Madera. She never really thought about being pro-life until she heard about the West Coast Walk for Life, and began attending while in high school. “This is a way to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,” said Villa. “We march in a peaceful way, praying, and singing together.”
Despite a few counter protesters, a sea of bystanders and commuters stood and watched, sometimes perplexed and other times nodding and honking in approval. Mendoza recognizes that there is still much work to be done, in and around the community, as well as educating them about what being pro-life really is. “As I looked at the counter-protesters I sought to see the face of Christ in each and every one of them regardless of their actions towards us,” said Mendoza.