At 2pm on Sunday, January 17, 2016, an estimated 5,000 people immersed the city streets of downtown Chicago in a sea of smiling faces, singing voices, yellow balloons, and genuine joy. This record-breaking crowd was composed of pro-life individuals from all age groups, diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, and various locations from across the Midwest, including Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, and Ohio.
With the amount of joyful, positive energy emanating from the crowd, you would have never known – had it not been for the puffy coats and hand warmers – that temperatures were in the single digits. Despite the chilly conditions, thousands of pro-lifers united to proclaim the sanctity of human life, commemorate the innocent lives lost after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion, and call for the restoration of the respect, love, and protection that all life deserves. Their mission was to share a message of love, hope, and life, and nothing – not even the cold – was going to stop them.
In just its 3rd year running, the March for Life Chicago has continued to grow in size – from 2,000, to 4,000, to a record-breaking 5,000 marchers this year! As this enormous, joyful mass of pro-lifers congregated at Federal Plaza and spilled into the side streets, they were moved and inspired by the words of Bishop Paul of Chicago, Pastor Corey Brooks, Archbishop Blase Cupich, Jessica Lauer, comedian Dan Kulp, Congressman Randy Hultgren (R-14), abortion survivor Melissa Ohden, and SFLI Student leader, Eareen Yambao.
In his speech to the crowd, Reverend Corey Brooks, Pastor of New Beginnings Church of Chicago, stressed the need for people to address the issue of abortion, especially in the African American community, saying,
“No longer will we stand on the sideline and let these abortions happen in our community and be silent while babies go unborn. But we are going to take a stand. And that stand starts right now.”
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, Blase J. Cupich, also explained to pro-lifers why coming out to Chicago to march on that day was so important. He told the crowd,
“This isn’t just about Chicago or people in neighborhoods where we come from. This is about our nation and the soul of our nation…We want to make sure we send a message that what we do here today has a message beyond the borders of the state, beyond the borders of the city and speaks to the world about the importance of protecting life.”
In addition, U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren emphasized that the right to life is the central issue of our time, saying,
“Everything we do in Congress goes back to that right to life, fighting for that right to life. It’s not a political issue, it’s a world-view issue. You see everything through that view that life is precious, life is valuable. If everyone shared that, killing in Chicago would go down to zero.”
The key-note speaker of the event, Melissa Ohden, moved the crowd with her incredible testimony as a survivor of a saline-infusion abortion. She related,
“I am grateful to be alive. I’m grateful for the call God has put on my life to be a part of this pro-life ministry. I stand here with you today, and every single day, marching for those who never will have the opportunity to march.”
At the same time, media outlets from across the state covered the March for Life Chicago, reaching hundreds of thousands with its message of love for life. Here is a growing list of the 2016 March for Life Chicago news coverage:
Moody Radio and Catholic New World also covered the March.
Emily Zender, President of the March for Life Chicago and Executive Director of the Illinois Right to Life, emceed the March for Life Chicago. More than pleased with this year’s turn-out, Emily said,
“I am speechless. Yesterday’s marchers touched my heart with their courage, dedication to life, and dance moves. The bitter cold was a testament to just how serious we are at overturning Roe v. Wade and supporting those in unplanned pregnancies. We are so serious we will stand in the cold and dance for love of life. Well done, Chicago.”
At the close of the largest pro-life event in the Midwest, pro-lifers kicked off the end of the March for Life Chicago with a celebration of life in the Federal Plaza. Marchers also congregated for a continued celebration at the Sidebar and Grille in downtown Chicago for the official March for Life Chicago After Party.
This chilly day was truly one to remember for the pro-life movement throughout Illinois, the Midwest, and the nation.
More pictures here (Photo Credit: Regina D’Amico/Illinois Right to Life)
Video: How large was the March for Life Chicago crowd? Check it out here (Video Credit: Regina D’Amico/Illinois Right to Life)
For information about how to get involved with the 2016 March for Life Chicago, email MarchForLifeChicago@gmail.com . For more about March for Life Chicago visit www.MarchForLifeChicago.org.
About the March for Life Chicago
The March for Life Chicago is an annual public event composed of people from diverse ethnic, social, and religious backgrounds dedicated to defending and protecting all human life. The event marks with deep sadness the great tragedy of the legalization of abortion in the United States along with the devastating social, moral, and legal consequences that have followed. Marching together in hope, the March for Life Chicago planning committee works with government, religious, civic, and community leaders to renew every effort to build a nation that affirms the authentic dignity of women, the gift of children, and a culture dedicated to protecting life at every stage of development. Learn more at: www.MarchForLifeChicago.org.