Youth make up a significant portion of Canada’s pro-life movement. An entire generation can now call themselves survivors of a form of genocide, since the infamous R. v. Morgentaler decision was made 25 years ago this past January. There are probably many more who would like to get involved, but feel their age will prevent them from being heard. They should be inspired by the example of Alexandra Jezierski, an 18-year-old young woman from Kingsville, Ont.,, who began her Letters4Life campaign in March 2012, with the goal of sending 100,000 letters to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office by May 10.
“I didn’t think I was going to get that many, but it was worth a try.” She had always wanted to do something “as a young person, to impact human rights in the political sphere.” After hearing about an American effort to write a million letters to the president before the November elections, Jezierski thought a similar project would be “feasible for a young person to be engaged in.” When Kitchener Centre MP Stephen Woodworth presented Motion 312, which called for a committee to study when human life begins, Jezierski extended her deadline and began trying to reach all MPs with pro-life messages from their constituents. She was “extremely excited” to reach her target in September, and even surpassed it by 19,000 letters.
Social media played a significant role in her success. Pro-life organizations, like Campaign Life Coalition, and news sources, like The Interim, helped, as did grassroots groups such as When Am I Human and Miles Driedger’s MP Postcards. Letters4Life had its own website – now inactive – as well as Facebook and Twitter pages.
Asked about the most rewarding part of her project, Jezierski told The Interim about the letter-writing parties she hosted with friends. The gatherings showed her that it was possible to “make a difference and have fun at the same time.” Her biggest challenge was apathy. More people need to realize how “important and relevant” pro-life issues are, Jezierski insisted. Overall, there was a lot of support. The “determination” of youth was a huge factor as well. “Kids as young as 11 were spreading the word at their schools and church youth groups,” she explained. Even children as young as six and seven got involved. “(They) drew pictures of pregnant moms and their babies” to send to politicians.
What’s next for the young activist? Jezierski is currently interning at the national office of Campaign Life Coalition in Toronto. She is “excited to bring the pro-life message to Canadians,” while working with an organization that “has been so influential in politics and has a strong media and public presence.” She is also working with Sarah Blake of Toronto Right to Life to start a national homeschooling pro-life club, which will be connected to Student Life Link and the National Campus Life Network. Jezierski hopes that other youth will be able to find people – perhaps an existing pro-life organization like Campaign Life Coalition Youth – who will “encourage them and help them to continue being involved.” Politicians, she says, “are very encouraged and influenced” by what they hear from young people. No matter one’s age, Jezierski says, anyone “can make a big difference.”