Youth: Lost and Found

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Many people call the youth these days a “lost generation.” Perhaps it is because of our obsession with technology- allowing each of us to be self-absorbed in the world, or, maybe because we live in a world where what appears to matter most is what we have or how we look.

But, from my perspective, these critics may just be hanging out with a different crowd because like everything, there is always another side to the story.

Aside from guaranteed freezing temperatures, I wasn’t sure what else to expect when I joined my first March for Life this year. In my home country of the Philippines, abortion continues to remain illegal and our constitution specifically provides that the State “shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.” However, here in the United States, the case is very different.

It has been 41 years since the US Supreme Court made a decision on Roe v. Wade, basically allowing abortion under many circumstances. A year after this decision, the first March for Life protest was held in Washington, D.C. What started out as a few thousand people has now become one of the largest and one of the most important pro-life events in the world.

Now I’ve had my share of participation in protests. And since joining WYA, I’ve gained some exposure to large events with equally large membership numbers. But the March for Life was different.

What struck me was the huge amount of young people present- not just college kids, though, many universities and different campus organizations were there, but the middle and high school students- some as young as ten!

This was brave, I thought- brave for parents to bring their kids to or even just allow them to join the march and brave for these young people, at most, to stay in the cold for hours, in order to stand up for life (quite literally).

As I was signing up members I came across huge parish groups of high school (and even younger) kids. They were so enthusiastic, so alive! You don’t have to be any kind of expert to tell that they were very excited to be where they were, being witnesses to their faith in humanity and of the sacredness of human life.

When lines become blurred in answering questions like “what is important?,” “what is true?,” “what is good?,” you can easily get lost.

But taking a stand does not have to be complicated. At the core of the World Youth Alliance (WYA) is the belief that every human person has value. That’s just it and it is a simple truth and we can live it out everyday.

We are not a lost generation. Standing up for life cannot end when the conferences and demonstrations are over. We attend these events precisely to know better what we can do when we return to our campuses, communities and place of work.

I have been a member of WYA for almost a year now and in that span of time I have worked with many young people whose interests range from the arts to mathematics to politics. In any field you can make a difference. And, just imagine what we could do if we all stood up, together, for life.

By Zarina San Jose, WYA HQ intern from the Philippines