I have always considered it an honor to be a part of the National Right to Life Convention. This gathering of leaders is a pro-life tradition stretching back to 1971, and an important part of the history of the greatest human rights battle of our time.
What is great about the Convention is what is also great about the right-to-life movement generally: it is built from the ground-up by grassroots groups of every size in every state and locality across the country. It is made of people and fueled by people power.
I would like to illustrate my point through three examples of people who attended this year’s Convention in Jacksonville, Florida.
Florence Bischof attended the Convention as a volunteer who helped tremendously by moderating workshops for two of the three days. She has a great smile and spirit and was a delight to be around and just talk to.
She shared with me her personal story of learning that her mother had been conceived by rape, a story that was published in the March/April 2011 edition of NRLC’s Choose Life publication and on National Right to Life News Today. She was excited not just to be a part of the Convention but to meet our Director of Outreach, Ernie Ohlhoff, with whom she had only spoken on the phone and by e-mail. I still have the copy of her story which she handed to me last week.
Joey Patterson had become a familiar name to me in the months leading up to the Convention. He had been our most ardent champion and promoter on Twitter, so I was excited to meet him at the event itself. I was happy to see him seated front-row at one of our workshops on the topic of online social networking. During the workshop, we tweeted back and forth and it was truly a pleasure to finally put a face to a Twitter username.
We got to talk at length after that session, sharing tips and information. I hope to see Joey again at next year’s Convention which will take place here in Washington, D.C.
Mike Miller was one of our many amazing volunteers this year, but he stuck out in my mind because of his ability to help us in a critical way. While the Convention staff was busy over-complicating a simple task like unloading the truck of Convention materials, he was able to organize the volunteers and execute it in a matter of minutes. It just goes to show you that sometimes you need a fresh set of eyes to look at any problem and reassess your situation. He helped re-teach me that important lesson.
I’m still a little tired from this year’s Convention, but it’s a good kind of tired. And I simply can’t wait for it to happen all over again next year right here in our nation’s capital. I hope to meet more great pro-life activists and share our stories, learn from each other, and build each other up for the next year.