March for Life 2021 Unhindered by Pandemic
March for Life Chicago Draws Thousands Across Midwest to Advocate for Sanctity of Human Life
Close to 600 Vehicles Processed through Downtown Chicago in Moving the Movement Finale
Written by Tom Ciesielka, 312-422-1333, firstname.lastname@example.org
(January 26, 2021 – Chicago) The March for Life Chicago’s final event in the 2021 multi-city tour drew almost 600 carloads of pro-life advocates to process through the streets of downtown Chicago for the January 23, 2021 event.
Organizer Kevin Grillot, Executive Director of weDignify, noted that the first ever Moving the Movement tour was a “strong public witness to life” as participants assembled in multiple venues across the Midwest for safe, socially distanced car rallies and procession, rather than the annual mass gathering in the Chicago Loop.
The March for Life Chicago Rally on the Road on January 23 was the culmination of a month-long pro-life tour across the Midwest. Throughout downtown Chicago, families cheered on street corners as the procession moved from the near north side through the city to the southwest side where participants donated tens of thousands of diapers to a local pregnancy resource center.
Moving the Movement Tour by the Numbers
6 Tour Stops in 4 States
“Our intention this year was to unite and inspire pro-life communities in Chicago and across the Midwest”, shared Grillot. “We faced pandemic restrictions, denial of city permits, and weather challenges, yet the turnout at our stops in Wisconsin, Nebraska, Indiana, and Illinois exceeded our expectations. We were blown away by the dedication of speakers, volunteers and, most of all, the thousands of pro-life advocates who turned out en masse.”
Momentum for the tour grew each weekend, with 267 cars registered in Madison on January 2 and Omaha on January 10, 383 autos registered in Ft. Wayne on January 16 and Mundelein on January 17, and 749 vehicles registered in Indianapolis on January 22 and Chicago on January 23!
With an average of 3 people per car, combined with many more who participated via livestream, an estimated total of more than 8,000 people attended the Moving the Movement Tour.
Organizers set an ambitious goal to collect 130,094 diapers, a figure picked to equal the number of babies aborted annually in the Midwest. In-person and online donations surpassed that number by over 25,000, to donated 156,518 diapers. The collected diapers were distributed among 20 local pregnancy resource centers.
The multistate tour provided an unprecedented opportunity for the March for Life Chicago to partner with local organizations across the Midwest. The official March for Life Chicago Moving the Movement Tour cargo van logged over 3,000 miles throughout the tour - more than the distance across the nation from coast-to-coast!
Inspiration to Fuel a Year of Pro-life Activism and Service
“The unity and momentum inspired by the Moving the Movement Tour is not only about the numbers,” remarked Grillot. “It is seen just as much in the individual moments.” He related how Southside Women’s Services (the end point for the Chicago Rally on the Road) received numerous spontaneous financial gifts as March participants dropped off the 48,000 diapers that would be shared with Women’s Center of Chicago.
March for Life Chicago tour speakers spoke about their own unique reasons for being pro-life, offering what Grillot described as “powerful testimonies.” In Indianapolis, Braedon Eckert, an advocate for foster care and adoption reform, shared his own story of life in foster care, followed by a loving adoption, and the eventual encounter with his biological parents. At the same Indiana tour stop, Heather Wilson witnessed to the healing power of post-abortion ministry.
Volunteers were an essential component of the March for Life Chicago tour. At all of the Moving the Movement Tour stops Grillot observed “an astounding testament to Midwesterner’s dedication to the pro-life cause.”
“We had young people collecting sleds full of diapers in the snow at Madison, Wisconsin, and we had Knights of Columbus members seamlessly ushering hundreds of cars into procession formation,” he recounted. “These events were possible because of hundreds of people who gave of their time and talents.”
Civic and religious leaders provided inspiration, hope, and encouragement through March for Life Chicago Moving the Movement. Speakers included Dr. Christina M. Francis of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetrician/Gynecologists, Pat McCaskey of the Chicago Bears and Sports Faith International; Dr. Pat Castle of LIFE Runners; Pastor Mark Jobe of Moody Bible Institute, Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita and other national and local leaders from political, educational, and religious arenas.
Grillot noted the “next generation’s unfailing enthusiasm for life” as student members of March for Life Chicago presenter weDignify turned up in full force to volunteer at every stop. weDignify student leader Margaret Pluta spoke at several of the March for Life tour venues.
“We see that now it is more important than ever to be openly prolife,” declared Pluta, “because the opposition is loud. The disregard for life in the womb is popular, and the voices of the unborn are faint - and we need to be their voice.” She challenged pro-lifers of all ages to, “Take advantage of every opportunity; be bold in your pro-life identity and take courage in the fact that you are not alone in this movement.”
Looking Forward to 2022
March for Life Chicago 2022 is set for January 8. The downtown Chicago will again feature the March for Life Chicago Convention, which debuted at the 2020 march to a capacity crowd. The Hilton Chicago on Michigan Avenue is the planned location.
“As we look forward to returning to our massive event in the Chicago Loop in January 2022, we are thrilled by the new pro-life ties we have forged this year,” shared Grillot. “We will continue to advocate for life throughout the year and look forward to hosting thousands of pro-lifers from across the Midwest right here in Chicago next January.”
About the March for Life Chicago
The March for Life Chicago is an annual public event hosted by weDignify composed of people from diverse ethnic, social, and religious backgrounds dedicated to defending and protecting all human life. The event marks with deep sadness the great tragedy of the legalization of abortion in the United States along with the devastating social, moral, and legal consequences that have followed. Marching together in hope, the March for Life Chicago calls upon government, religious, civic, and community leaders to renew every effort to build a nation that affirms the authentic dignity of women, the gift of children, and a culture dedicated to protecting life at every stage of development. Learn more at: MarchForLifeChicago.org.