Kaja is a student at DePaul University and although she is very committed to advancing the pro-life message, her study abroad experience distracted her from this passion. Her trip to the March for Life reignited that passion!
Here is her story:
Before going to the March for Life this year, I spent four months studying abroad in Bonn, Germany where my previous pro-life involvement at DePaul was forgotten and pushed aside.
At least to my knowledge, the Bonn campus did not address the issue, which made me question whether abortion actually existed in the “ultra-tolerant” and “democratic” country of Germany. However, my temporary carefree and almost indifferent attitude towards the issue cannot in any way be excused by my preoccupation with the ‘study abroad experience’. Even when I came back to Chicago, I felt disconnected from the Respect for Life group at DePaul, and it was not until the March for Life that I became re-inspired for real.
It would be a huge mistake to try to pinpoint a single event during the march and the conference that caused the major change in my attitude. However, I do remember a few moments that always stick out when I recall my experience there.
The two events occurred during the march itself: seeing the brutal and painful images projected on a screen on one of the sidewalks through which we marched and later experiencing pro-choice protestors’ aggressive signs and shouts in our direction.
The images stirred in me a strong feeling of disbelief at the enormous violence inflicted upon innocent babies, and although these images were awful and gruesome, I could not pull my eyes away. I wanted to imprint those images upon my heart so as to never stop fighting for life and human dignity.
The confrontation with pro-choice protestors also shook me, especially when a pro-choice female with a sign that called women bitches approached our group. In response to her terribly vulgar and sad poster, all of the girls in our group (Loyola, DePaul, Dominican, Northwestern, and UIC) began to chant “Women deserve better”. Guys in the group joined in right away, however that moment became particularly significant to me as a woman fighting for better choices and conditions for young mothers (and all women in general).
The conference the next day also proved to be amazing and extremely insightful. All throughout the conference, inspired and touched by speakers and activists, I often could not hold back tears. It was a beautiful environment in which I became acutely ashamed of my previous indifference. It was an environment which exposed everything I ignored in Germany and then pushed it to another level. I realized I wanted to fight for the pro-life cause for good this time.
And so after coming back to DePaul, I have rejoined the group as a board member with a position of Outreach Coordinator. So far I have contacted several groups on campus which might express interest in supporting our main goal for this school year: installing changing tables in women’s bathrooms on campus. In addition to that, all of the board members, including myself, coordinate bi-weekly meetings where education and conversation regarding the topic of life and especially abortion take place.
On a more personal note, I work hard to establish my own pro-life identity by educating myself on the topic from different perspectives, by speaking up (although that is by far the hardest!) when the question of life is being trivialized and misunderstood by some of my friends, and by seeking aid from helpful and much stronger people than myself in times of crises and feelings of hopelessness, such as Kevin (SFLI’s Campus Mentor).
Everyday I make sure my passion for abolishing abortion and spreading the message of life does not die down, and as of now I am fully dedicated to this beautiful cause.
I think it’s impressive that Kaja is able to see that she really needs to establish her own pro-life identity. This is an important realization. If you do not invest in your own knowledge and passion, you will not be much help in advancing our cause.
Kaja knows this. Do you?
What are you doing to invest in YOUR pro-life identity?