October 4th may not be a significant date for most people, but it is heavy with meaning for me. On that day in 2010, I had finished roughly a month of Grade 13. I came home from school and, as was routine, browsed the internet for the latest news. I found the social media profile of a favourite-musician-turned-casual-friend and saw his latest post. Did I shake with anger or fear? Did my jaw hit the floor? I don’t remember much about my reaction to this, except yelling a swear word so loudly out of shock and outrage that a vase on a nearby table was vibrating.
Oh, how my life has changed since that moment. I already knew where I would be going to school the following year, but it was the wake-up call I needed to show me the risks – the reality – of being a pro-life student. It meant challenging authority and the status quo. People who did that were “bad” or “loudmouths,” weren’t they? (Sorry Ruth, but at the time I was no fan of yours. Of course, I have immense respect for you now.) A mentor and friend of mine watched the infamous video and urged me to give her another chance. “She’s just speaking out for her rights.”
By January, I was corresponding with the club members and preparing for the beginning of my involvement. I wasn’t going to make graphic signs for others to show, as I had originally thought, but would learn to debate and display them myself. After finding out about the first “Choice” Chain I was participating in, I was stunned. How did I get there? I gasped so loud that an entire church basement full of people, many of whom I call close friends today, turned around to stare at me. We still laugh about it.
Nearly a year after the arrests, on October 3rd, 2011, I would meet one of the leaders of the pro-life organization whose strategy Ruth and her team were using.
When the two-year anniversary rolled around, I had: learned pro-life apologetics, used them in countless street debates involving graphic pictures, become vice-president and then president of my campus club, had my first encounters with media, participated in LifeChain, attended presentations, conferences and formation events across Ontario and Canada (when I had never explored other provinces before), participated in the Defund Abortion campaign, and spoken at a student dinner with NCLN.
I never would have had these opportunities if I had not become active. I never would’ve become active if I hadn’t been online that afternoon to see the situation at Carleton unfold. It seems “meant to be.” My life has changed so much because of the events of a single day. I didn’t expect a thing, nor would I make any changes. As such, I always take the anniversary of the Carleton arrests to reflect on where I’ve been in my pro-life journey, and where I hope to be down the road.
This year, I’m in the middle of my third year of university. I’m currently discerning my place in the movement after my education is complete. Along the way, I’ve met many more pro-life leaders and made new, lasting friendships. I’ve participated in some mission trips, and I’ve just finished a life-changing internship with The Interim and Campaign Life Coalition. My experiences have taught me a lot: about myself, pro-life strategy, and life in general. I hope that someone else may be inspired by my activism, and that the legacy I leave for them is a good one. Thank you, pro-life friends, for continuing to challenge and support me in this crazy journey. Here’s to another three years … times 30.