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Black pro-lifers rally in five-city tour

Say So March (LEARN Northeast)

Black pro-lifers rally in five-city tour

About 400 people demonstrated against the abortion of black children earlier this month in a five-city march sponsored by the Life Education And Resource Network (LEARN).

LEARN, the largest black pro-life network in the United States, started its marches in 1999 with the mantra: “If you love the children, say so!” Created to draw attention to the nearly 12 million African-American babies aborted since Roe v. Wade, the march aims to change hearts and minds rather than laws.

“National attention would be nice, but national conviction is why we are marching,” said Clenard H. Childress Jr., a LEARN spokesman. “African Americans—whether they are Democrat, Republican, or Independent—cannot any longer allow public perception to be that people of color condone and support the dismemberment of children in the womb.”

The three-day “Say So March” began in Newark, N.J., with about 100 participants, Childress said. On Oct. 11, the demonstrators traveled by bus from Newark to Lawnside, N.J., Philadelphia, District Heights, Md., and Washington, D.C. They marched about two miles in each location except Lawnside, where they focused on prayer. At the largest demonstration in Philadelphia, black pro-life leaders assembled outside Kermit Gosnell’s former abortion facility. The demonstration concluded with a march on the Supreme Court steps Oct. 13.

While in Lawnside, the marchers visited the Peter Mott House, a stop along the Underground Rail Road. For Childress, the stop represented the marchers’ goal to “rescue enslaved children in the womb.” Although black women comprise only 13 percent of the population, they have 36 percent of abortions in the United States, according to LEARN. Childress said African Americans have lost their core values: “We have to rediscover what made us … resilient.”

But discussion about abortion in the black community has been purposely censored by the NAACP, Childress said. And the Congressional Black Caucus’s association with Planned Parenthood particularly affronts the black community.

“This is a betrayal. It is gross negligence,” he said. “It is truly self-serving because if they cared about African American women they would have this discussion.”

Childress hopes to foster a grassroots pro-life discussion, engaging in the health, life, and faith aspects of abortion. He especially wants to engage and educate youths. The marchers’ average age was just 26 years old. But political ties often inhibit discussing pro-life topics among black youths.

“We have to circumvent that,” Childress said.

Courtney Crandell Courtney is a former WORLD correspondent.

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