Marching with Conviction
Written by Matthew Fisher
It was 9:00 p.m. January 17, when a group of buses pulled out in single file from a parking lot at Hillsdale College. Aboard each bus were students ready to make the ten-hour ride through the night to march in the streets of Washington, D.C., for what they believed. Braving the cold temperatures and long trip, individuals associated with Students for Life arrived in our nation’s capital and joined a crowd of more than two-hundred thousand deep, urging for change to America’s abortion laws.
In the social media age, many have embraced the notion of online activism. Through hashtags and trending topics, people attempt to influence change from afar. But students recognize that changing the world requires concrete action. Three years ago, Adelaide Holmes attended her first March for Life with Hillsdale College. Holmes, a junior George Washington Fellow majoring in politics, came to realize that it was her responsibility to do more than cheer from the sidelines on an issue that mattered so much to her.
“While I’ve always been pro-life and have attended the march the past three years, it wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year of college that I was convicted about my lack of involvement,” Adelaide said. “While the March may not directly end abortion itself, it does serve a purpose to encourage other pro-lifers; it reminds politicians in D.C. that this is an issue that has yet to be rectified, and it shows the pro-abortion movement that pro-lifers are serious, culturally relevant, and unwilling to back down in our pursuit of life.”
That spirit of steadfast conviction can be found in the hallways and classrooms at Hillsdale College. Dozens of our student-led organizations go out into the community and the world every day to affect change in accordance with the values of our institution. But few organizations or events have better exhibited the energy and passion for activism.
“The March for Life is an excellent way students can practice what they preach when it comes to pro-life views,” said Nolan Ryan, junior English major and journalism minor. “Sacrificing sleep, time, and money to demonstrate on behalf of unborn children without a voice allows us to put into practice what we learn and discuss in the classroom. Hillsdale is such a unique place in that it provides so many opportunities for students to not just talk the talk but also to walk the talk. It’s no good if we say we believe something among friends and professors if we aren’t willing to take action.”
When the students arrived at the march, they realized the nature of their movement and the higher calling of their endeavors. While some protests involve bullhorns or even disturbing the peace, the March for Life represented the best in America coming forth and standing for their beliefs. Liana Guidone, a sophomore, described the scene: “There certainly was a somber mood at the event, especially in light of it being such a deep topic.”
Adelaide also described the mood of her group as reflective and aware of what they were fighting for. “The atmosphere among the Hillsdale students is very contemplative and quiet. For myself, I would rather observe the signs and reflect on the gravity of abortion rather than join in on the fun chants encouraged often by other groups marching alongside us. My friends and I usually have conversations about pro-life legislation, policy, and the prudent use of abortion victim photography. Every year I come away having learned more about the pro-life movement simply through my conversations with others.”
Abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass once said, “The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
As students pass by Douglass’s statue next to Lane Hall every day and go about their daily routines, they are reminded that it is their responsibility to pursue the good and to defend truth fearlessly. “I think Hillsdale College supports the students with their activism, especially those students whose views reflect the college,” Liana said.
Whether it be a ten-hour bus ride or a march in the cold winter air, Hillsdale students and faculty remain committed to changing their world for the better.
Matthew Fisher is a junior with a major in political science and a minor in journalism. He writes for The Collegian, plays on the College’s basketball team, and is involved in athlete ministries. After college Fisher plans to pursue a career in broadcast journalism.
Published in February 2019