There’s been so much grief and anger and even noise in our nation since George Floyd died in Minneapolis that I have hesitated even to put down in writing my own reactions. My social media feeds – and I can’t just drop them; they’re integral to my work – leave me feeling alienated and quite inadequate to rise to the occasion we’re in.
I have a couple of things to share with you that I hope you’ll find constructive.
a webinar worth your time
I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m a contractor with Cornerstone Action, dealing with legislation and communication. One of my Cornerstone colleagues, who’s on the Cornerstone Policy Research (non-political) side of the organization, facilitated a webinar this week with three Manchester-area pastors. Two are black, one is Hispanic, and each has something to say about his own experience in New Hampshire. This was an eye-opening hour for me.
You can register for the webinar recording at this link, which I believe will expire on or around June 17th.
I’m grateful to pastors Michael Worsley, John Rivera, and Isaiah Martin (a former UNH Wildcat football player, by the way) for their participation.
a thought for future reference
Say what you will about COVID-19 precautions and how they may or may not have been selectively enforced during recent public demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s death. My own takeaway is this: any response made by government and law enforcement to the peaceful rallies in Mr. Floyd’s memory is equally applicable to rallies and all other peaceful public witness to the dignity of human life, now and in the future, with or without public health emergencies.
It’s good to see how law enforcement was careful to distinguish the recent peaceful demonstration in Manchester’s Stark Park from violent demonstration. Peaceful pro-life witnesses have all heard at one time or another that our very presence creates “an atmosphere of violence.” We know better. Peaceful demonstration, even with an undercurrent of anger, isn’t on a spectrum with violence on the other end. Violence is in a separate dimension all its own.
Yesterday’s post shared the news about a classic grassroots pro-life organizing effort in response to a pro-abortion exhibition at a Dover, NH arts venue. It seems that last night’s peaceful witness attracted even more participants than the first one a few days ago.
From a public post on Facebook from Phyllis Woods, who led the effort: “The experience of seeing nearly seventy prolife defenders come out on a Friday night to stand in witness to the truth that giving birth to a child is normal and abortion is anything but normal, was moving and heartwarming for me and I am both humbled and proud to be counted among them.”
Phyllis has been inspiring me for a long time. Looks like she’s not done yet.
Friday, October 18 at 5:30 p.m. – just a few hours from when this post is published – peaceful pro-life witness will be going on outside the Dover Art Center, 1 Washington Street, Dover NH. Read on for what it’s about and how you can participate.
Phyllis Woods of Dover, NH saw that the Art Center in Dover was planning an exhibition intended to – ready for this? – “normalize” abortion. She didn’t wring her hands or try to close the place down. Instead, she sent out the word to pro-life allies: will you come pray with me?
They came. The day the exhibit opened, the pro-life witnesses were on the public sidewalk outside the Art Center. They didn’t try to block anything. They were there to “normalize” life. They’ll be there again today, Friday, October 18, for the exhibit’s official reception. All who are committed to peaceful, non-confrontational pro-life witness are welcome.
By the way, Phyllis has caught some flak on her social media. Feel free to chime in with something edifying.
(Photos in this post are by Phyllis Woods and are used with permission.)
The next 40 Days for Life campaign begins on Wednesday, September 25. In New Hampshire, kickoff events will be on Sunday, September 22 in Greenland and Manchester.
Greenland’s event on the 22nd will begin at 2 p.m. with speakers Maria of Rachel’s Vineyard post abortive healing, Susan RN of Abortion Pill Reversal Rescue Hotline, and Jackie McCoy, Campaign Coordinator. Expect light refreshments and fellowship. Location is outside Joan G. Lovering Center, 559 Portsmouth Avenue in Greenland. Please park only in the unpaved parking lot adjacent to the Greenland Town Offices. Meet on the grassy area in front of Greenland Town Offices. Rain or shine event! Dress accordingly.
At 3 p.m. on the 22nd, Manchester’s campaign will kick off in Montminy Hall at Ste. Marie Church in Manchester with a screening of the film “Unplanned.”
40 Days for Life is “an internationally coordinated 40-day campaign that aims to end abortion locally through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a peaceful all-day vigil in front of abortion businesses.” In New Hampshire, a typical prayer vigil runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
It has to be seen to be believed: a state representative in Pennsylvania posted video of himself harassing peaceful pro-life witnesses outside abortion facilities. See coverage here, at a link that will not give the rep the satisfaction of inflating his social media stats.
The prospect of such bullying here in New Hampshire is why I keep my phone with its camera handy whenever I’m participating in 40 Days for Life, and it’s why I think it’s a bad idea to witness alone even though I’ve sometimes done so.
The Pennsylvania politician has demonstrated how not to represent a district. That’s between him and the voters, or rather among him and the voters and the advocacy groups that will no doubt be dumping money into his next campaign.
Abby Johnson and the amazing team from And Then There Were None will respond on Friday, May 10 by going to the Pennsylvania facility where the politician performed his antics. They’ll stand with some of the same people berated by the state rep. He has therefore succeeded in intensifying the pro-life presence that so offended him in the first place.
Don’t think of it as standing with Abby, as stalwart a pro-lifer as she is. Instead, think of it as standing with the people who endured the state rep’s provocation.
From the event announcement:
Let’s stand together across this country on Friday in peaceful unity against the tactics of Rep. Sims and all those who bully prolife people, all those who bully women into abortion, and all those who want to bully our culture into accepting abortion as something good.
On Friday, May 10th, let’s stand together, in solidarity, for LIFE against bullies.
Here’s how: When: Friday, May 10, 2019 Time: Between 8am and 12pm Where: Your local abortion clinic What: To pray and give peaceful witness How: Be prepared to pray quietly (no bullhorns or yelling). Bring a Bible to read softly, rosaries, prayer cards, or other things that help you pray. You may make homemade signs to hold. If you do, we suggest writing #IStandWithAbby or #StandWithAbby on them along with the websites ProLove.com or AbortionWorker.com. You can also find some ideas on what to put on your signs at CheckMyClinic.org.