If you’ve ever been to any kind of pro-life rally or protest in the Midwest or beyond, you may have noticed a joyful group of teenagers clad in yellow, carrying massive banners, leading chants and banging drums. These kids in yellow are known as the Crusaders for Life, a youth-led, grassroots movement homegrown in Chicago.
Founded at St. John Cantius Catholic Church in Chicago, the movement has since spread to several other churches in Illinois, as well as Michigan and Connecticut.
According to their website, “The Crusaders understand that the biggest tools to conquer the culture of death are prayer and love. Spreading their message in all that they do, they have become known for their spirited and joyful enthusiasm and signature yellow ‘Life Balloons’ which have become an international symbol of the joy of the pro-life movement.”
Their outreach has four main components: praying and giving witness outside abortion clinics, traveling to pro-life events to spread their message, and fellowship with each other and other pro-lifers through events like monthly meetings at St. John Cantius and Lifeapalooza, which is a larger pro-life gathering held in Michigan.
The Crusaders are living proof against the mainstream media’s narrative that the pro-life movement is mostly old men seeking to control women. Its is vibrant and youthful movement of mostly high school students, and since its conception, has become a staple of pro-life rallies. Their yellow balloons can be spotted yearly at the national March for Life in Washington DC, and at more local demonstrations. Just a few weeks ago, the Crusaders attended the protest at the new Planned Parenthood clinic where they were egged while peacefully praying.
“Through joy and prayer we hope to re-establish the belief that there is beauty and sacredness in every life, born and unborn, and that each life needs to be cherished and protected,” said Crusaders president Annie Streeter.
Savannah Dudzik, former vice president of the Volo chapter of the Crusaders and current intern at Illinois Right to Life, spoke about how they get the crowd hyped at pro-life events.
“At the rallies, we sing around 10 to 15 pre-learned chants,” she said. “These chants are catchy and filled with the pro-life message. We encourage anyone who might be around to join our group in singing and being joyful!”
The Crusaders bring a great deal of color and noise to any pro-life rally, so next time you witness their infectious enthusiasm, don’t hesitate to join in.