Just shy of 200 high school students representing six Right to Life of Michigan affiliates gathered in Caro, Michigan, for a prolife youth rally on April 14. Bryan Kemper, creator of Rock for Life and president of Stand True Ministries, was the featured speaker.
The rally, hosted at the Caro Knights of Columbus hall, opened with prolife band The Gateway. Students were provided a pizza dinner and prize giveaways including a notebook computer and mp3 players. Elly Smyczynski, Right to Life of Michigan field representative for northeast Michigan, said it was both an informative and inspiring event for the students.
“We tried to make it encouraging, and have some fun, too,” she said.
The rally’s main event was a speech by Bryan Kemper, who works with prolife youth across the country. Kemper’s main message compared abortion to the holocaust, and stressed how active youth must be in ending abortion.
“The kids were mesmerized,” Elly said. “He really held them in rapt attention and they seemed to eat it up.”
Sidewalk counselor Rebecca Gabriel also spoke at the rally. Gabriel, a recent high school graduate, spoke about her involvement and how important it is for youth to be part of the prolife movement. Amy Roggenbuck, president of Sanilac County Right to Life, said youth are more prolife than they get credit for but need inspiration to actively promote prolife messages.
“Her message was to not just be prolife, but do something about it,” Amy said.
Sanilac and Huron County Right to Life were both featuring Kemper at their affiliate dinners on Tuesday and Thursday. Amy had the idea for a Wednesday rally since Kemper would still be in the area and his expertise is with prolife youth. The idea quickly grew to include six affiliates in the planning, and youth from all six areas attended the rally. Affiliates from Tuscola, Lapeer, Saginaw and Bay counties helped with Sanilac and Huron on the planning committee.
“The whole committee worked well together,” Amy said. “They all took a role. When there was something that needed to be done, they did it.”
The biggest challenges to hosting the event included coordinating with Kemper, as well as planning the rally between two affiliate dinners. Taking the first step to hold a large youth rally was hard, Amy said, but once the planning began in January all the pieces came together. The affiliates were expecting 100 students to attend, but were pleasantly surprised with the turnout and generosity from the community.
While affiliate dinners tend to appeal to a more adult crowd, Amy said a youth rally is a great event for students to hear a prolife message and become enthusiastic about it. Amy said she would love to do a rally every year, but no definite plans have been set.
“I think it’s important,” Amy said. “The kids need a way to get educated on prolife issues.”