Right to Life sponsors D.C. trip

first_imgWashington, D.C. — Three hundred and twenty Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students joined thousands of anti-abortion demonstrators on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. for the 41st annual March for Life.Due to low temperatures and winter storm warnings, senior Jennifer Gallic, Notre Dame March for Life Trip Coordinator, said some Washington-bound buses were cancelled and numbers at the event were smaller than usual.“Unfortunately, only about half of our [590 registered students] were able to make it to D.C.,” Gallic said. “Despite the cold, the group that made it was excited to stand with hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers to defend life.”Photo courtesy of Anna Carmack The March began at 12 p.m. on the National Mall where anti-abortion advocates gathered for an hour-long rally, Notre Dame senior Amanda Bambury said. The group then marched to the Supreme Court to mark the anniversary of “Roe v. Wade,” the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that struck down anti-abortion laws, she said.“For a gathering of so many people it is a very pleasant atmosphere,” Bambury said. “It is not violent or hateful at all, but is filled with people who are so full of life and who really want to try and make a difference.“It is such an honor, a privilege and a blessing to be able to walk side by side with my fellow Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students and faculty who are so passionate about the cause and to walk by people who have traveled so, so far to march.”The trip, organized by both Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s Right to Life groups, receives sponsorship from the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, the Notre Dame Institute for Church Life and alumnae, Gallic said. The commitment to funding expresses the University’s larger commitment to expressing the importance of life issues to its students, she said. “We have had people from Notre Dame go [to the March] since it started,” Gallic said. “The numbers were only a couple in the beginning, but Notre Dame has always been represented.Notre Dame is committed to life issues, Gallic said. Right to life is part of the Catholic Church’s mission and Catholic Social Teaching. She said the close relationship between the organization and the president’s office is evident in the university’s decision to give excused absences to students who participate in the March.Gallic said involvement with the Right to Life Club at Notre Dame helped shaped her perception of others and taught her the importance of the inherent dignity of all human persons.“This group really shapes how you view other people in terms of the dignity that they have,” Gallic said. “At its core, the pro-life movement is about human dignity, so that definitely provides a different outlook on life — you see people through their worth as created in God’s image.”Gallic, who has attended seven marches in her lifetime, said she found it encouraging to stand with so many others with the same passion for pro-life issues. She said it gives her the strength to continue to fight for a cause she “holds dear to her heart.”“Just being involved with pro-life issues can sometimes be discouraging when you see the culture shifting so far away from it,” Gallic said. “Being at the March last year … by people who are so passionate about it, reminds you that you are not the only person fighting for this and [shows] how important of an issue it is.”The Right to Life Club at Notre Dame works to educate students on life issues and provides students with a way to get involved, Gallic said. Since the group is at a Catholic institution, she said she believes the group is supported more than pro-life groups at other American college campuses.“Compared to other pro-life groups at other universities, our group is very well received,” Gallic said. “We receive a ton of support from the administration.“There is always going to be, especially on college campuses, people affected by abortion, and for those people seeing reminders of the pro-life movement can be hard, but we have never experienced a lot of resentment or a lot of negativity.”Saint Mary’s senior Allie Richthammer said she feels she is in the minority at Saint Mary’s since she is pro-choice.“I personally feel like it is a woman’s responsibility to choose what she does as far as reproductive issues and I don’t think that the government, or anyone else, should be involved in that decision making process,” Richtammer said. “I think it is a citizen’s private right to choose what they would like to do.Richtammer said she thinks abortion will occur whether or not it is legal, and she said she feels abortion should be made safe as a result. Although she said she does not feel nervous about expressing her pro-choice views, at times she does feel reluctant.“On the whole, I really haven’t experienced anything negative being a pro-choice supporter on Saint Mary’s campus, but it can feel a little awkward sometimes when people are talking about ‘killing babies’ or things like that,” Richthammer said. “When they bring it into that context, as far as abortions go, I don’t really view it like that. I view it as a women’s reproductive health issue rather than an abortion issue.”Gallic said the Right to Life Club is always willing to engage in discussion with students about their beliefs and said anyone is welcome to come to the group’s events, including those who are not pro-life supporters. She said events like the March allow members of the club to engage with people from all different backgrounds and support groups, especially those of younger generations.“At the March you are able to network with other college campuses, people of older generations and experts for the cause,” Gallic said. “It is great to see so many people come together for the pro-life cause.”Tags: March for Life, Right to Lifelast_img read more

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COLUMN: Obama’s departure is sad day for sports

first_imgYesterday was former President Barack Obama’s final day in office and — regardless of where you fall in the political spectrum — a sad day for sports fans across the country. Of the few presidencies I’ve lived through, no commander in chief has been as involved and as knowledgeable about the world of sports as Obama. Devout sports fans such as myself can tell almost immediately whether people in power — politicians, CEOs and celebrities — actually care about sports or are just trying to flub their way through a speech they didn’t write to cozy up to famous athletes (like San Francisco mayor Ed Lee calling Stephen Curry “Steve Curry” in 2013 when presenting the Golden State Warriors star a key to the city. That was cringe worthy).Through his eight years in office, I’ve watched Obama welcome championship teams and sports icons to the White House with casual jokes, references and remarks that make him feel more like a friend talking sports with you in a bar than the President of the United States making a speech. From making fun of Deflategate to calling Michael Jordan “more than just an internet meme,” Obama certainly has the sports jokes down. I’ve watched him fill out his bracket before the NCAA Tournament each year, explaining his picks and breaking down teams on ESPN, making more sense than some analysts the network somehow still employs (looking at you, Stephen A. Smith). In an interview with Grantland in 2012, Obama said he watches SportsCenter during his morning workouts, sneaks a peek at a ball game from time to time while reading briefings and even pays for NBA League Pass himself. GQ published an oral history this week describing Obama’s love of pickup basketball. He routinely played during both of his campaigns, including the day of both elections. It’s easy to say that all of this is pointless. Sports is unimportant in comparison to running a country. But can’t we all say that about our lives? Just because your team won a big game doesn’t mean you’ll get a promotion at work the next day. In this sense, Obama connected with us common folk who watch sports and use it as an escape from the stress of everyday life.There’s also something bigger about sports that Obama touched on beautifully on Monday, when he welcomed the World Series champions Chicago Cubs to the East Room for his final White House ceremony.“It is worth remembering — because sometimes people wonder, ‘Well, why are you spending time on sports? There’s other stuff going on’ — throughout our history, sports has had this power to bring us together, even when the country is divided,” he said. “Sports has changed attitudes and culture in ways that seem subtle but that ultimately made us think differently about ourselves and who we were. It is a game, and it is celebration, but there’s a direct line between Jackie Robinson and me standing here.”Robinson, of course, broke the color code in professional baseball, paving the way for the diverse world of sports we have now. In fact, black athletes make up the majority of players in both the NBA and NFL today, while minorities compose roughly 40 percent of MLB players. Sports are proof that no matter the political climate in the outside world, everyone on the playing field is one and the same, separated by their talents and abilities rather than race. It’s more than just the players: Anyone can be a sports fan. Go to a sporting event and you’ll see people across all walks of life cheering in unison for their team. “When you see this group of folks of different shades and different backgrounds coming from different communities and neighborhoods all across the country and then playing as one team and playing the right way and celebrating each other and being joyous in that, that tells us a little something about what America is and what America can be,” said Obama, describing Cubs players after their World Series victory. That is the true value of sports, which are so much more than simple objectives like putting a ball in a basket or running into an end zone. Obama understood that while Robinson was just a baseball player, he made it acceptable for people of color to participate in a league reserved for whites. That paved the way — more than half a century later — for a black man to lead the country, a position previously held solely by white men. And in the end, Obama was just as much a Chicago sports fan as he was the commander in chief. He cared about his March Madness brackets as much as the guy working a nine-to-five desk job, snuck in baseball games as much as the college student “multitasking” while studying, watched SportsCenter at the gym just like you or I would and shot hoops with his friends like any other dude. Say what you want about his politics or the legacy he leaves behind. But I’ll simply say this, from one sports fan to another: Thanks, Obama, for reminding us of what sports are all about and how they can make a tremendous impact on progress in society.Eric He is a sophomore studying print and digital journalism. He is also the associate managing editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Grinding Gears,” runs on Fridays.last_img read more

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