About 15,000 people Saturday marched from Olvera Street to Los Angeles State Historic Park in the fifth annual OneLife LA pro-life celebration, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles said.
The purpose of OneLife LA is to “celebrate the beauty and dignity of every human life from conception to natural death,” the Archdiocese said in a press statement.
The event started at noon at La Placita, the birthplace of Los Angeles, with welcome remarks from Archbishop Jose Gomez.
“OneLife LA is about the light, not the darkness,” Gomez said. “`In a society that promotes a selfish ‘me against you’ individualism, OneLife LA celebrates people who are living lives of self-sacrifice, generosity and service.”
The keynote speaker was Lizzie Velasquez, an anti-bullying activist and author who suffered bullying due to having a rare disorder that prevents her from gaining weight. The unconditional support of her family and her experience taught her not to ask “Why God” when bad things happen, she said.
“When something bad happens or I see something bad happening to other people, I instantly ask myself `What is the lesson? What are you trying to teach me in this?’ ” Velasquez said.
A former Planned Parenthood director who became a prominent anti-abortion activist also addressed the crowd. “For me, it’s been a journey of healing to know that the world is seeing me when I was at my worst but also gets to see my heart changing and the ultimate redemption through the grace of God,” Abby Johnson said.
A formerly homeless mother spoke about how she learned to accept the generosity, compassion and love of others. “Before and after our loss our family had been very involved in matters of social justice in our community,” Beatriz Sandoval said. “I never thought that I would need the services that I always advised people to get in order to have a safe and decent place to live.”
OneLife LA weaves together stories of human dignity, said Kathleen Domingo, senior director of the Archdiocese”s Office of Life, Justice and Peace. “The inherent dignity of the child in foster care, the dignity of the person with special needs, the dignity of our homeless neighbor, the dignity of the sick and the elderly and the incarcerated,” Domingo said. “And, sometimes most difficult to see, the dignity of the pre-born child from the first moment of conception.”
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