Prayer, MLK at heart of Alamo March for Life

Last Saturday, hundreds of San Antonians marched downtown from the Alamo Plaza in peaceful protest of Roe v. Wade.

On Saturday, hundreds of San Antonians marched downtown from the Alamo Plaza in peaceful protest of Roe v. Wade. Both the young and old attended, including Pro-Life groups from Trinity University and UTSA. The Knights of Columbus headed the march, with the March for Life banner behind them. 

After the “March for Life,” locals gathered at the Main Plaza in front of the San Fernando Cathedral for the San Antonio Rally for Life, in front of the San Antonio City Council Chambers and at the heart of San Antonio. There, people registered to vote and pro-life advocates like Dr. Pat Castle, founder of Life Runners and government officials like Congressman Chip Roy (R-21) spoke out against abortion. 

“We know that if San Antonio goes, then Texas goes. And if Texas goes, then so does the United States of America,” Dr. Castle said on stage. 

The rally started with Reverend Will Davis leading prayer.

Terry Herring of Allied Women’s Center was the first to speak, motivating her listeners to do more for the Pro-Life cause. “It’s time to leave our comfort zones… to take your pro-life involvement to a higher level. Ask the Lord, God, today, ‘What can I do to put on the heat?’ There’s a lot more that needs to be done.” She then cited how she has been arrested seven times outside the abortion clinics while taking pregnant girls in. “I want to challenge every one of you here: get out of your comfort zone. Brace the heat. And we’ll see you next year, and you can tell me, ‘Hey, this is what I did to brace my heat.’” She then introduced her own granddaughter to show that even the smallest of them can do something. Herring spoke about how her granddaughter spent many of her afternoons at the Allied Women’s Center helping give out diapers to pregnant women in need. “No matter how old or how small you are, there are things you can do to help,” Herring said.

Congressman Pete Flores of District 19, the largest senate district in Texas, also spoke at the rally. “I believe that most of us in Texas, especially in the district that I represent, are pro-life. We are pro-family. We are pro-God. We are pro-country. And for that we also do not apologize to anyone,” he said. He described how he and many other Texas representatives in the last Texas legislature struck all the abortion bills down and passed Senate Bill 22, which protects taxpayers from subsidizing abortion providers and their affiliates, and House Bill 16, which protects children born alive after abortions. “It’s a shame that in this day in age that we should even have the conversation about terminating a human being on a botched abortion… we should not even be discussing this topic in our great United States of America, much less our magnificent Texas.” 

Congressman Flores then called for everyone to show up at the polls. “At the last city elections here in San antonio, 14% showed up. The rest stayed home, and then we want to complain about the policies that come up after that. A lot of our opponents say that elections have consequences. They sure do… You must stay involved. You must stay engaged. You must have a voice. And you’re doing it today. If you don’t stand up, then you’ll be dictated to… So let us know what you think. Be vocal. Hold us accountable, always, and if we don’t do our job, vote us out. That is a life from the moment of conception. It’s a human being with a separate soul that God knows. And it’s up to us to protect them.”

After Congressman Flores, Congressman Roy spoke up at the rally, calling to attention that Martin Luther King Jr. Day was also coming up alongside the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. He quoted Martin Luther King Jr. that “we want to be able to celebrate the content of one’s character, not the color of their skin. Yet, the color of your skin or your economic circumstances of your parents are now too often deciding whether or not you live or die before you are given the first breath of life. That should not be the case.”

The Alamo March for Life and the San Antonio Rally for Life was sponsored by the San Antonio Family Association, Shavano Family Practice, and Allied Women’s Center.

The MLK March: A Conservative Perspective

This past Monday, I did something I never thought I would do: attend a liberal march. I normally try and avoid placing myself in situations in which I know everyone present will refuse to see me for any more than my political beliefs. The idea of the legitimacy of marches in general is dubious to me, because it seems like a way to avoid discussions in favor of being the loudest. However, in the name of curiosity and stepping out of my comfort zone, I woke up early on our day off and hopped on a bus to downtown San Antonio.

Before arriving at the march, I was both hopeful and concerned for the experience ahead. I was hopeful because all of my research on the march revealed that its primary purpose was simply to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I am a fan of King’s and his messages of love and equality which stood against extreme racial injustices in the 1960s. My concern came from the recent tendency of events such as these to turn towards intersectional messages. Meaning, it would fight for every social justice cause imaginable while condemning those who don’t conform to that narrative, losing the message of King’s legacy in a slew of anger.

To my surprise, I was mostly pleased by what I saw. From my arrival to my departure, I didn’t encounter or observe any significant instances of anger or hate. Most everyone present seemed united in their efforts to keep King’s name alive and known. Save for a handful of people who were carrying small pride flags, the general mentality of the marchers was quite focused on that goal. Speakers along the march pathway played music and recordings of King’s famous speeches. Attitudes were positive, with both marchers and people standing along the streets having a generally good time. I was able to let my guard down and join the marchers.

Photo courtesy of Samantha Farnsworth

Even though I enjoyed my experience, I am still critical of the march overall. While it did serve to commemorate King’s lasting legacy, the attempt to claim that his work has gone unfinished actually diminishes the weight of what he fought for in his time. In the 1960s and before, African-American people were seen as inferior according to the law, which kept the races segregated and divided America. Though racial inequality still exists today, the issues are nowhere near as violating as they were when Jim Crow laws were in place. The fact that no successor of King’s caliber has risen to prominence is proof enough of this.

Many of the values that King advocated for during the civil rights movement are actually quite aligned with modern conservative social values. King is famously known for his dream that people would “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” King’s view on humanity is in agreement with conservative ideals of racial colorblindness and focusing on people’s ideas rather than playing identity politics. This is one of the reasons he is still so relevant today, and why society can still learn from his wise words. Additionally, King recognized that many of the problems within African-American communities are self-perpetuated and could not be blamed on anyone else, and that these issues therefore could not be solved by anyone else. The MLK march seemed to demand that issues be solved while making no practical efforts toward this goal.

Conservatives often criticize liberals for existing inside of an “echo chamber”, wherein the only intellectual input they receive comes from their own shared perspectives. While conservatives certainly recognize the importance of intellectual diversity and civil debate, we are often too reluctant to engage in what we perceive to be liberal-centered experiences. It is only by allowing ourselves to experience the world from the other side that we can legitimately justify our own beliefs while understanding and respecting the reverse.

Samantha Farnsworth and Emma McMahan at the MLK March; Photo courtesy of Samantha Farnsworth

MLK March Fills Downtown San Antonio

Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the most influential African-Americans in modern US history.  Each January, the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of San Antonio organize a march to commemorate his life and to honor his achievements.  This is one of the biggest MLK marches in the country. Approximately 300,000 people and communities participate in the San Antonio march every year.  

The nearly 3 mile march began at 10 am on Martin Luther King Dr. in downtown San Antonio.  Thousands of people brought signs, posters, banners, and other display items. Many “Black Lives Matter” signs were present.  One notable sign read, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” Signs, posters, and chants are pretty typical for a march.  However, this march was somewhat unique because stereo systems on the side of the road were blasting speeches from King.  The “I Have a Dream” speech was echoed along the street and some people were playing music and singing songs. The main attitude of the participants in the march seemed upbeat and passionate.

This march included many community organizations and universities which participated.  Trinity University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee organized rides to and from the march for students who wished to participate in the march.  Many Trinity students find race issues to be important, and which is why the march matters so much to those students.

“Nowadays the march is to show solidarity within the community,” Josephine Van Houten, an international studies major at Trinity, said.

The issue of racial inequality also hits close to the heart for some students.  “As an African-American in America it does hit close to home for me,” said Chancie Calliham, a junior and political science major.  She further explains that “it’s great to see everyone come together as African-Americans and allies alike just to be here and show support for racial equality and justice in America.”

Other students explained how this march commemorates MLK’s lifetime and what he stood for.  Kievan Boudreaux-Bostic, a junior on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee from Trinity’s Diversity and Inclusion Office (DIO) believed that MLK stood for “Mainly nonviolent protests and loving thy enemy.”  Boudreaux-Bostic added that “he [MLK] was a really brave man because it’s hard to be nonviolent especially when people don’t respond with nonviolence.”

Being one of the biggest MLK marches in the country, this march’s high attendee turnout made an impact on lots of communities where the issue of racial injustice matters most to them.  The march was nonviolent, just as King advocated.