By Rev. Dr. Clenard H. Childress, Jr., Founder of BlackGenocide.org, and guest blogger for the PA Pro-Life Federation
Philadelphia is always our favorite stop due to the fellowship with Exodus Baptist Church where Pastor Herb Lusk is the Pastor. As some of you may know, Herb Lusk was the praying half back of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1976 to 78 and was a constant menace to the New York Giants. God always has a sense of humor. I would have never thought the guy I was rooting so strongly against would one day be such a great friend and such a great help to me and the cause I serve.
After a stellar sermon by Pastor Lusk, along with an exhilarating and uplifting worship service on Sunday, October 13th, we headed out to Broad Street to march down to City Hall Plaza. We always create a great witness during the March and often are able to witness to the citizens of the City of Brotherly Love. Often, we see faces of utter surprise, and this year’s nods of approval were up when discovering why we were marching. It’s quite a witness to see so many people of color holding graphic signs warning the city of the horror of abortion. Quotes of Martin Luther King and Fred Shuttlesworth expressed the need for the citizens of justice to rise up and demand justice for children yet to be born in the womb.
The March was only about 15 to 20 minutes, but we had an impressive body of protesters and once again we had activist Hector Ferrer with us. As I preached to the city in between pro-life chants, Hector added homilies of life in Spanish. I found out later Hector grew up in Philadelphia and attended school there, one of which he was able to march by and see. Once again, the diversity and Christian manner we portrayed is what the nation needs to see now. So, the preaching, chanting and the unity allows our spirit to touch those that are there and those that view it later through social media and the many still shots we take.
Once arriving at the plaza, the skate boarders made room for us and the crowd that’s normally already gathered for leisure was introduced to pro-life activism at its best. The crowd now stood by and heard the compassionate voices of pro-lifers crying out for those whose voices are being silenced by abortion.
Rev. Herb Lusk Jr.’s son led us off with words of commitment and dedication to the plight of the unborn and allowed his son to come up to the podium as he spoke. Why? To remind us all we have to pass the baton till the evil of abortion ends. “The Killing Must Stop”.
I had the pleasure of meeting the director of the Crisis Pregnancy Center for Exodus Baptist Church called “The Hope Center” Marlene Downing, who marched with us along the route and shared a message for the future of young girls who come into the center seeking help. Her love and experience speak to the heart and soul of the women that come in to the Hope Center. The pro-life movement must understand that the people of faith are created to play a role in the ending of abortion. Marlene has a message that I and many others cannot carry, making her voice and service in this area so vital to the movement.
Michael Ciccocioppo,Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Pro-life Federation, marched with us and gave words of exhortation and expectation. Michael encouraged us to stay diligent in our struggle and encouraged the marchers by letting us know the progress we are making locally and nationally.
There were others there such as Patrick Stanton who spoke of the family legacy of engagement and commitment to the cause there in Philadelphia, Pastor Joseph Randolph of the Onley Baptist Church, the fine officers of the Philadelphia Police Department, and all the way from Atlanta Georgia, a forerunner Loretta Greer. Activist Greer spoke words of wisdom and reflected on the pro-life ministry in the African American Community past and present. Sister Loretta highlighted the faithful struggle of LEARN in its endeavor to reach the African American Community as well as the country. Special thanks to Michelle Martin of Exodus Baptist who coordinated our visit to Exodus, producing an outstanding fellowship.
It was our best attended march in Philadelphia but for 2020 we have to greatly surpass this effort and we are committed to do so. God has brought us thus far and we can’t draw back now! I declare 2020 the year of activism!
Reprinted with permission from the 10/31/2019 newsletter of the Life Education And Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N.)