Angelica Vecchiato:

Pro-life youngsters across the country are looking forward to the annual March for Life (M4L) taking place this year in the nation’s capital the week of May 7-12.

Organized by Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), this year’s march is slated to feature a number of interesting keynote speakers such as Oxford University Research Associate Dr. Callum Mitchell, Students for Life spokesperson Autumn Higashi, and Turning Point USA contributor Isabel Brown.

Shania Nigli is a M4L veteran attendee. The 24-year-old has been serving on CLC’s Youth Committee, which coordinates and plans events for the pro-life week in Ottawa, since 2019. In 2019, Nigli was the master of ceremonies for the candlelight vigil, usually held on the Wednesday evening before the march to commemorate the lives of children lost by abortion. In 2022, again for the candlelight vigil, she acted in a managerial role overseeing its execution by finding speakers and coordinating the evening’s schedule.

For Nigli, her active involvement planning for the M4L has enriched her experience. “Everyone on the youth committee has a specific role to play,” she told The Interim. “You’re meeting monthly via video chat for in preparation for the events in Ottawa, so coming together and witnessing all your hard work as it comes to fruition is incredibly rewarding, especially when it’s a cause you’re all passionate about.” She is a former CLC intern who now works at Aid to Women, an organization that helps women in challenging pregnancies choose life.

Though CLC Youth member Ellis Carlson has never been to Ottawa for M4L, he hopes to attend this year. “I look forward to connecting with other pro-life activists and being able to openly protest together against abortion and euthanasia. I think it will help me realize that I am not alone in this fight for life, and it would give me hope that it is still possible to make abortion illegal again,” he said.

Carlson has volunteered for pro-life politicians including Conservative MP Tamara Jansen, who is green-lit by CLC.

Gillian Villanueva, a former CLC intern in 2020 and 2021, never knew about the gruesome reality of abortion until her seminal journey to the M4L. “On the bus ride over, they played the Unplanned trailer and I was so mortified to realize that abortion was the deliberate killing of a baby inside his mother’s womb,” Villanueva told The Interim. “Attending the events was so educational and informative for me as I began learning about how big an issue it was in Canada alone. The march itself was such an inspiring and empowering experience as I saw how many people cared about this issue and were willing to speak out,” said the third-year student at the University of Toronto.

Joseph D’Amario, a 19-year-old student at Toronto Film School, has been consistently attending the M4L with his family for as long as he can remember. This year, he will be assisting pro-life filmmaker Kevin Dunn, capturing the hustle and bustle of the march on video. “The march is always such a source of inspiration for me; the crowds and incredible speakers are an amazing reminder that we are not alone in this fight,” said D’Amario. “It’s an incredible yearly experience that I get to share with like-minded people from all over the country who believe that life is worth fighting for.”

In line with this year’s theme, Standing Firm for Life, Dunn is set to unveil parts of his new documentary at the M4L. His new production, Roe Canada: The True North in a Post-Roe World, what he terms as “perhaps the most important project of my career as a broadcaster and a filmmaker,” will preview on May 9th followed by a round-table discussion.

D’Amario believes that marching for life sends a political message. “It’s important to attend the march because our government needs to see every year just how many people fight for the sacred right to life,” he said.

The youth banquet will take place on May 11 followed by the youth summit on May 12.