[Today’s guest post is by Terrisa Bukovinac.]
When I first set out to launch a Pro-Life Future chapter in San Francisco, I was at the Life/Peace/Justice 2016 Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Traveling to the city of Philadelphia for the first time, I was overwhelmed by the history of our (well I think great) nation. I was so inspired by the story of our forefathers, their desire to create a nation where all were treated equally and where the idea of basic human rights was put into law. We may take these rights for granted from time to time, but the influence the “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” has had on my life is undeniable. And although tragically not all persons have had access to these rights throughout our history, I pretty much live by a code of constantly treating myself to whatever I like, whenever I want it (as long as i’m not hurting anyone!). It’s amazing. Thanks, America.
Anyway, so I’m in this moment. I’m inspired. I want to make a difference. I’m pro-life. And along comes C.J Williams of Pro-Life Future. For those of you who may not be aware, Pro-Life Future is an offshoot of Students For Life of America. It is a way for young professionals to come together and make a difference in their local communities. I made a promise to her shortly after the conference (like maybe a day later) that I would start a chapter in SF.
For those of you who are not totally familiar with SF, you may not quite understand just how vehemently pro-choice the city really is. For example, two of my closest friends (I’m quite social) have held full time positions with NARAL Pro-Choice America, and most of the women I know have done at least some volunteer work with Planned Parenthood. The marriage between being a true progressive liberal, and holding a pro-choice position is prevalent to say the least. And basically everyone here would say they are a progressive. Including myself really. In many ways I am a textbook San Franciscan. I’ve lived in SF almost a decade, and I adore it.
But obviously, I’m pro-life. And I’m an atheist. So the struggle of making any pro-life connections in SF was real. C.J. assured me that I would only need two others to launch my group. That seemed reasonable at first. But after months and months of attempting to reach out to church groups and other local pro-life groups, I was at a complete loss. I had met and spoken with dozens of people, yet not one was willing to commit to a leadership position. I knew I had a more leftist vision for the group, likely more liberal and secular than most of the religious people I’d encountered were really comfortable with. And then one day, CJ sent me the facebook event invitation to my launch party. I thought there wasn’t a hope in the world that we would have more than just me showing up. But then the tide turned. I met a wonderful writer for Live Action, Laura Peredo. She was totally on board with my message, and gave me the hope that I needed that we could recruit and bring a group together to make a difference in our local community.
Long story short(er), the group launched on Oct. 18th, and we had over 25 attendees! I almost couldn’t believe it. And what a good looking group too! I mean, let’s face it, we can’t sell the pro-life cause unless it’s cute.
On that night, I delivered a three page speech, but I’ll include just a sample of those remarks.
The intention of this group is to magnify a pro-life voice in San Francisco, which I think is not only a tall order, but is desperately needed… It is crucial to understand that this is not as simple as democrat vs. republican, or Christianity v. secularism… as champions of the right to life for all persons, it is essential that we address all life issues. In addition to helping under-served communities, and making our city a better place to live, we seek to make it harder for the pro-choice constituency to dismiss our position on abortion. When we have demonstrated that we stand by what we proclaim, that all human life is valuable and worthy of protection, we will gain credibility. We will stand with secularists, with the needs of women, with LGBTQ people, and with black and brown lives. We are here to introduce, and explore for ourselves, what it means to adhere to a consistent life ethic. We meet to bring peace to our community and peace will not be achieved without acknowledging the grievances of those most severely impacted by violence and discrimination. Our value as humans is not based on our circumstances, our religion, our political affiliations, our cultural backgrounds, the color of our skin, our sexuality, our gender, our gender preference, our level of development, or our abilities. Our value is grounded in our shared humanity.
So many told me they felt inspired by the message and were excited to be part of something new, something that maybe hasn’t been done before. A pro-life group of young professionals, dedicated to reaching progressive liberals, would you ever think it possible? We were even covered by the SF Newsfeed. I think it’s safe to say that that night, we all felt energized, and ready to do the necessary work to bring the pro-life message to San Francisco. There’s so much more to come.