To the left you can view the response I received to what I think is the first protest letter I ever wrote. I was 13 years old. (Fyi, no one in my family still lives at that address and we all live in other states now.) I can still remember seeing the TV news report about the horrible conditions at the Atlanta Zoo. I was upset, and had to do something. So I wrote a letter to the mayor of Atlanta.
I’ve been a life-long activist and it is somehow natural for me to speak up or look for ways to raise awareness about injustice. The causes that have most concerned me have varied over the years, but common ones have been abortion/pro-life movement, animal welfare, and the harms of pornography. I use that word “natural” above because this seems innate to me. How can I not speak up or do something?
I’ve always strongly believed that one person can make a difference. And many “ones” can be a powerful force.
People can sure discourage you in this regard! But I’ve never listened to the naysayers. Well, I did listen but refused to let their discouraging words keep me from taking action, and I continued to press on in my work. In fact, I think the naysayers actually motivated me to keep at it.
I’m always puzzled when someone says “there is nothing I can do.” Really? Nothing? For example, the 50 Shades of Grey movie highly concerned me. I saw several people express concern on social media, but who also said there was nothing they could do. What? There is always something you can do. What did I do? I tried to get some locals to join me in organizing something outside the movie theater. Unable to find anyone to join me, I went it alone. I made a flyer, got 500 copies made, and spent opening weekend at the movie theater placing these flyers on cars. My flyer encouraged people to boycott the movie, and instead donate money to the local domestic violence shelter. It also featured web sites and phone numbers for further info or help. I know some people think I wasted my time. I don’t.
My activism has taken various forms over the years. For example, in regards to the pro-life movement, I have pretty much done it all! I volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center for years – assisting in a variety of ways – working directly with women facing unplanned or unwanted pregnancies.
I’ve done street work outside Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics – distributing literature and/or picketing. I organized a campaign at the PP near my home back in the 1990’s. This PP actually did not do abortions but referred to the 5 abortion clinics in the area. The hope was to get pro-life (and Christian) resources into the hands of women ahead of time. Since this PP was located in a public building which housed multiple businesses, it was an ideal situation for legally “hanging around” and having opportunities to talk with women and get literature in their hand.
I’ve written countless letters and made phone calls – usually of a political nature about legislation related to abortion. I collected signatures for petitions, back in the day when this had to be done tangibly with pen, paper, and clipboard. I’ve staffed the pro-life booth at fairs and other events – when I was involved with a local chapter of National Right to Life. I had quite a few letters to the editor printed in newspapers, about abortion and related concerns.
I’ve done pro-life “spy work.” For example, years ago I made phone calls pretending to be a woman wanting an abortion so that we could determine when the abortion clinics would be open and closed around holidays and such. With 5 abortion clinics in the area, volunteers were stretched thin and we did not want to have volunteers at a clinic that was not doing abortions that day.
I even worked with Operation Rescue back in the day. One summer I risked arrest, but we had very gracious police in the city, who basically tolerated our blockading the clinics. We shut the clinics down for about a week. A group of us actually ate lunch on abortion clinic property the one day! I’ll always remember one pro-life family who was there with their disabled child. The child was in a wheelchair, and they hung the child’s peg tube feeding on a low tree limb.
In more recent times, I volunteered to sponsor the documentary about 3801 Lancaster at a local movie theater. This was last autumn. This professional documentary tells the story of Gosnell’s abortion clinic. Read more here where I posted about it. I also participate in the 40-days for Life campaigns outside the only abortion clinic in my area – which focuses on peaceful prayer.
And oh, I should touch on animal welfare. I was a volunteer with a local cat rescue group and went one evening a week to clean out the cages of the cats awaiting adoption. In the last several years my concern has grown about the treatment of farm animals on factory farms. I buy cage free or free range eggs, purchase my chicken from a humane-certified poultry farm, etc.
Thanks for listening to this sampling of my activism history. I am not insinuating that these issues are the “best” ones but simply the ones that have most touched my heart.
“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19