Over a week ago, while many people were advocating for the grassroots movement that was the Women’s March on Washington, an abundance of other people were anxiously anticipating their own march, the 44th annual March for Life on Jan. 27, 2017.
A group of students and faculty from Fairfield University traveled to Washington D.C this past weekend to represent the school at the March for Life.
These members of the Fairfield community joined thousands at the March for Life event. A total of 10 students participated, in addition to one campus minister, Katie Byrnes, campus minister for social justice and community engagement.
For most of its history, Fairfield has gone on trips to the March for Life, however, due to the event always being hosted at the end of January, some trips have been cancelled.
Regardless of inclement weather, four years ago, the student officers of the Students for Life club, Interim President Kaitlyn Cocuzzo ‘17, Vice President Brianna Cocuzzo ‘17, Secretary Anthony Iorio ‘17 and former President Becky Hyatt ‘17, all realized the annual trip to the March for Life had fallen inactive.
“We realized that the group was no longer functioning when we entered as freshmen four years ago. We revived the group and the three of us collectively made the decision that Fairfield should start attending the March again,” said Kaitlyn.
Over the course of the weekend, the group partook in the March itself, which was an hour long walk from the Capitol Building to the Supreme Court steps.
In addition to hundreds of thousands of attendees, Vice President Mike Pence addressed the crowd, marking his first major address as vice president and also the first highest ranking official to ever speak at the March for Life.
“Life is winning in America and today is a celebration in that progress,” said Pence.
“The March was nationally put in place immediately following the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision which legalized abortion in the United States. Those marching peacefully walk that route to petition for the overturn of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision,” said Brianna.
Kaitlyn also discussed how there were other events affiliated with the March throughout the weekend, including a Vigil Mass for Life in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception the night before and an early morning rally and mass at Gonzaga College High School in D.C. for students from Jesuit high schools and colleges across the country the morning of the march. The day following the mass, the Fairfield students attended the Cardinal O’Connor Conference at Georgetown University.
For some of the members on the trip, it was their first time engaging in the march.
“I decided to go on the march because I feel it’s very important to give a voice to the voiceless and I think the march set out to do that with love and positivity. It was an incredible experience and to see so many people coming together for a common goal was awe inspiring,” said Katie Curry ’19.
“My favorite part was getting to the top of Capitol Hill and turning around to see the thousands upon thousands of people who stood for the unborn. It was an incredibly moving experience and I felt the love that came from every person who was there,” she continued.
Whatever your political affiliations may be, the students who participated in the March for Life want others to remember to use their voices for all to hear.
“We would like students to understand that we always have a voice. It is also incredibly empowering to be with a community of people who believe the same thing as you do and are willing to stand for what they believe in, in a peaceful manner,” said Kaitlyn.
Echoing the sentiments of his fellow peers, Casey Barry ‘17, who also attended the march, would like students to see the pro-life movement as something beyond a political viewpoint.
“Hundreds of thousands of people, across all parts of the country, across political lines, cultures and race unite on an issue that protects and preserves human dignity. This isn’t an ‘Anti-Abortion’ march- it’s a March for Life,” stated Barry.