It’s not going to be sunny and 70 degrees in many places in the United States on Saturday, Jan. 17, but it will be in Los Angeles.
That’s why the first-of-its-kind OneLife event will be taking place outside, beginning with a walk for life and ending with a gathering in the park complete with food trucks, talks from both local and national speakers, and a concert.
The event, meant to be a family-friendly celebration of the dignity of the human person and the culture of life, is the brainchild of Archbishop Jose Gomez, who realized the Archdiocese did not have any large-scale pro-life events.
“He said, ‘Why do people have to travel to a different city to be pro-life? Why can’t they be pro-life here in L.A.?’” said Kathleen Domingo, the Life Coordinator in the Archdiocesan office of Life, Justice and Peace.
“We decided to make a family-friendly event that would embody what we mean by saying we’re pro-life and that would help build a culture of life,” she added.
The speakers and entertainers at the event will include local folks as well as some nationally known people, including: Eduardo Verastegui, actor and founder of Metanoia films, David Bereit National Director of 40 Days for Life, Karyme Lozano, the co-star of For Greater Glory, Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, the first Superior General of the Sisters of Life, and Christian singer and song-writer Josh Garrels.
“We have entertainers, we have food trucks, we have balloon artists and face painting for the kids, I mean our point is really to make this a celebration of the dignity of every human life,” Domingo said.
The speakers, particularly the local speakers talking about their daily struggles to choose a culture of life, are what Domingo called the “meat” of the event.
“They are going to be telling their stories about overcoming great obstacles in their lives, times when they had a choice – do I make a choice for life? Or do I make a choice for something else?” she said.
“So we want people to come out and have a good time, but to leave with the sense that this is what it looks like when we are pro-life together and build a culture of life together.”
While there will be some talks at the event that focus on how to end abortion, Domingo said the event will also cover other pro-life topics such as human trafficking, foster care and end-of-life issues, which a culture of life encompasses.
“What we’re focusing on is the dignity of every human life,” she said. “What we want to do is encourage people that being pro-life isn’t just an activity for political or faith leaders, it’s an activity of every single person and it involves daily commitment and daily activity, and it really begins in the family. That’s the most important place to start being pro-life.”
When asked why the event didn’t take the typical conference-style approach, Domingo said the Archdiocese is hoping to show that building a culture of life should be an inspiring and joyful thing.
“We’re trying to say this in a new, kind of a different way,” she explained. “This is L.A., in a sense this is missionary territory. We have to be very cognizant that people here in California and L.A. are very aware of, ‘How do these things look? How do they appear? Is this something I want to be part of, is this a winner?’”
“So part of what we’re doing is putting out there as: this is what it means to be pro-life! We should be happy doing it! We should feel loved and leave inspired,” she said.
Domingo said it is the goal of the conference that everyone comes away with a clear sense of what it means to be pro-life, and a strong call to do something about it.
“Being pro-life means saying to someone, ‘I recognize your dignity,’ and we’re Christians here so what we’re really saying is, ‘I recognize Christ in you and I’m going to treat you accordingly,’” she said.
“And as a result we’re creating a culture of life.”
Free registration and more information about the OneLife event can be found at: http://onelifela.org/register/