By John Jackson, Staff Writer
On Friday, January 27, a group of Manhattan College students embarked on a trip to Washington D.C. to participate in the 44th annual March for Life.
The event was coordinated by junior mechanical engineering student Ryan Quattromani, with help from government professor Margaret Roarke. Roarke also helped students coordinate a trip to the Women’s March the week prior.
“I came to the March for Life because my presidential candidate won and I think it’s a very hopeful time for this initiative,” said Quattromani. “So it was really important for me to get to D.C. for the March and join hundreds of thousands of other people in this initiative.”
The students who came on the trip met Quattromani in the parking lot outside of the Kelly Commons building at six in the morning. From there he drove them down to D.C. with a school van.
While the group itself was small, the passion was not. Each student had a reason for attending the event.
One of those students, senior and double major in psychology and philosophy, Andrea Lopilato wanted to promote a culture of life.
“I’m pro-life in all its forms,” said Lopilato. “Which means I’m against abortion and capital punishment and oppression. Basically anything that promotes the culture of death that we kind of live in.”
Irving Weihs, a junior political science major, wanted to give a voice to those who have none.
“I think all life is important, said Weihs. “Especially the most innocent life we have; the life that begins at conception.”
Nick Pagan, a freshman who is undecided in the business school, wanted to join the massive amount of people who are likewise against abortion.
“I came for the March for Life,” stated Pagan. “Because as a Catholic I feel it’s my duty to join hundreds of thousands of other people to protest against abortion. I’m completely pro-life.”
All the students who came on the trip made it to D.C. in time for the speeches. Some of the speakers included Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Super Bowl Champion Benjamin Watson, Sen. Joni Ernst, and advisor to President Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway.
What made the event historic was the speech given by Vice President Mike Pence. He was the highest-ranking official to ever speak at the event since its origins. Pence’s speech gave hope to the pro-life cause by pointing to Trump’s new pro-life administration.
“We’ve come to a historic moment in the cause for life,” Pence told the crowd in his speech. “And we must meet this moment with respect and compassion for every American.”
“Let this movement be known for love, not anger,” Pence emphasized in his address to the crowd.
Love was on full display during the march, which began on Constitution Avenue and ended in front of the Supreme Court. The protesters energetically chanted, held up signs, and marched. They paid little to no attention to those who came to protest against the pro-life stance. Some pro-life demonstrators peacefully stood next to pro-choice demonstrators in a civil manner.
After the march, Manhattan College students went back to the MetroPoints hotel in New Carrollton, Md., where they boarded overnight. The next day they attended the National Students for Life Conference.
The conference was held in the First Baptist Church of Glenarden which is located in Upper Marlboro, Md. Some of the speakers at the event included Josh Brahm of the Equal Rights Institute, Casey Mattox of the Alliance for Defending Freedom, Jason Jones producer of the movie Bella, and Kristan Hawkins who is the President of Students for Life.