Steve Karlen addresses the Youth Banquet at the National March for Life. Photo by Rebecca Atkinson

March for Life Youth Banquet hits all the right notes

By  Rebecca Atkinson, Youth Speak News
  • May 19, 2017

OTTAWA – The electronic sounds of Transform DJs filled the Ottawa Conference & Event Centre on May 11, giving a lively and vibrant edge to an evening promoting the sanctity of human life.

“You are the generation that are going to abolish abortion,” they repeated during their time onstage. The electronic dance music group, which has toured around the world, exists to share the Gospel’s good news and defend the unborn while leading people into worship.

The group’s music and message was warmly received by more than 800 high school students and young adults who attended the upbeat and lively Youth Banquet that took place following the 20th annual National March for Life in Ottawa.

“The pro-life movement is something that is vibrant and alive, particularly among youth,” said James Pereira, a high school student from Ottawa. “The people I saw at the march were not gloomy, angry people. They were excited and joyful young people who truly believed in this cause.”

Pereira enjoyed the experience of both the March and the banquet, which was hosted by Campaign Life Coalition.

“I loved being able to see the thousands of people who came out to defend life and the vibrancy of the pro-life movement,” said Pereira. “We are not a dark and terrifying group that is anti-women. We are a strong, united voice that believes in human rights for each and every individual, no matter how small.”

Keynote speaker Steve Karlen, a pro-life activist who has spoken extensively throughout Canada and the United States, called each and every youth present to whatever God might be calling them to do in regards to the pro-life movement.

“This (event) is not something that should mark the end of our pro-life commitment,” said Karlen. “This is something that should be the beginning of a renewed commitment that will last the entire year.”

He told the crowd that it’s necessary for everyone to make a difference, or the effort is all for naught.

“Whenever you head back home from wherever it is that you’re from,” said Karlen, “and then you come back next year, if nothing changes in between, this has been a waste of your time.”

Karlen, who is the director for the 40 Days for Life North American campaigns, spoke with fervour about his own stories and experiences promoting the sanctity of life in our present age. He had a message of hope for the pro-life movement, whatever difficulties are placed in its path.

“When you look at the laws here in this country,” said Karlen, “it would be easy for us to conclude that we’ve lost the debate over abortion. But I don’t think that’s the case. I think it’s more likely we’ve never had the opportunity to have an honest discussion about abortion.”

Karlen emphasized the importance each individual person has in the fight against abortion. Every day, a woman somewhere gets out of bed and takes a pregnancy test. The woman has a choice to make about giving a child a chance at life.

The circumstances may look different for each individual, but the important thing is that every person has the potential to save a life.

“Ask God what He wants you to do,” said Karlen. “Maybe the Lord is going to call you to do something hard. Do it anyway. Maybe the Lord is going to call you to do something you don’t have time for. Do it anyway. The Lord makes time for us when we seek out His will.”

(Atkinson, 21, is a first-year journalism student at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ont.)

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