By Myrna Maloney Flynn, MCFL President
Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.
-- Luke 6:38
This week, I had the pleasure of talking for the first time with one of MCFL’s longtime supporters. We planned to “meet” over a video call* and, as I thought ahead to our conversation, I knew there was one thing I wanted to find out: why he is so committed to the pro-life mission. So staunch is his support that he answered my question before I had a chance to ask it.
He told me he’d been adopted and, as he got older, realized what his birth mother must have gone through, the magnitude of her sacrifice, and the impact of his adoptive parents’ decision. “If Roe v. Wade had been around, I might not be here,” he said. “This issue will always be at the core of my being.” Then, elaborating on all his parents provided for him over the years, he explained his consistent MCFL support. “Their [human rights] pro-life work continues, even though they’re not here anymore, through me.”
This pandemic prevents us from rallying at the State House or gathering for our spring events, yet my colleagues and I continue to advance MCFL’s mission to “restore respect for human life and defend the right to life of all human beings, born and pre-born.
Our Board members and staff are writing op-eds, posting the undeniable truth of prenatal development on social media, and applying nonstop pressure on our elected officials. We are investigating questionable practices that are considered the “norm.” Our volunteers are informing women of the better option, recruiting new members, and, of course, donating.
None on our team want anything in return for their gifts. Yet I fully expect that they will one day find goodness packed, shaken, and poured into their laps.
This Tuesday, May 5, provides you with an opportunity to bolster our work—work that is significantly more challenging due to the coronavirus. I understand pandemic-related fallout is affecting people in a variety of ways. But, if you can, I humbly ask that you consider making a contribution to our state’s oldest pro-life organization during Giving Tuesday, somewhat of a “new” national holiday. You don’t have to wait until Tuesday though. Take a moment now to visit our website.
Thank you for whatever gift you are able to make. And thank you for the support you provide simply by being an ally—one who will read this and reaffirm in your heart the value of human life and the work we do to protect it.
For those following the story of Baby Hope, an update: the five-month-old once again astounded her doctors in Boston last week, when a preoperative MRI revealed that, over the last few months, most of the brain tissue that had been in an external sack at the back of her head went back inside her skull. According to her mom, Joy, “The doctor is amazed and hasn't seen anything like it.” Surgeons operated successfully, and indications are that there was little, if any, damage to brain tissue. “She looks great,” Joy told me. “She will still have battles ahead of her, but they have gotten a lot easier.”
I wish you a week filled with gifts, whether they are eagerly anticipated or unexpected. May they overflow, inspire, and multiply.
*Though it has become the go-to video conferencing tool for organizations and individuals alike during Covid-19 lockdowns, Zoom, and its leaders, ardently support abortion rights and Planned Parenthood. In June 2019, for example, its CEO signed onto the national “Don’t Ban Equality” campaign, which called attention to workplace “restrictions” to “comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion.” Google Meet is an easy-to-use Zoom alternative. However, through its support of the United Way, Google indirectly supports Planned Parenthood.
Abortion Pill Reversal, COVID-19, and Selling Death via "Telehealth"
by Dr. Mark Rollo, M.D., MCFL Board Member
Death is for sale on line via telabortion.
The abortion industry has always been on the cutting edge when it comes to profiting from death. The very first ambulatory surgical centers were abortion clinics in New York City in the 1970's. These centers made abortion easier to perform and more lucrative. The centers were very efficient killing centers and much more profitable than utilizing hospitals.
Medical abortion (or chemical abortion) was even easier and more profitable: No abortionist, no medical equipment required--just pills. In 2008, long before COVID-19 forced an explosion of telemedicine, Planned Parenthood in Iowa began offering medical abortion via telemedicine at clinic sites not staffed by physicians. After information was obtained by clinic staff, the woman seeking abortion was electronically connected to an abortionist who was not on site. If the woman wanted to proceed with ending the life of her unborn child, the abortionist would enter a command on a computer and a drawer would open in front of the mother to dispense the abortion pills.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the increasing use of telemedicine in general and the abortion industry, following the aphorism of never letting an opportunity go to waste, is trying to take advantage of this situation despite the fact that 18 states have banned telemedicine abortion due to safety concerns. The FDA currently prohibits the abortion pill from being prescribed by abortionists via telemedicine. As of December 31, 2018, there were reports of 24 deaths associated with women who had taken the abortion pill, mifepristone. These included cases of undiagnosed ectopic pregnancies and severe infections. This is not to mention the pain, life-risking bleeding and other complications endured by women who have experienced medical abortion.
Massachusetts has joined with 20 other states in a petition to the FDA to allow telemedicine abortion because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The claim that this protects women from venturing out in public is a ruse. It is clearly exposed by the abortion industry's contradictory and simultaneous argument that elective surgical abortion is an essential service. Thus the killing of the unborn in clinics continues while procedures like joint replacements, heart operations and cancer surgery wait. The abortion industry seeks to have it both ways. In both on-site clinic abortion and telemedicine abortion, the lives of women are put at risk while babies die and the abortion industry profits. Moreover, medical supplies
are diverted from healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients thereby putting even more people at risk.
The objective of social distancing is invoked when it comes to telabortion. But this objective is conveniently ignored when it comes to the “essential service” of killing the unborn by surgical abortion.
Raise your voice today and save lives tomorrow, and in the future in Massachusetts.
Call your state senator and representative, the governor's office, and attorney general, Maura Healey.
Tell them you object to endangering women's lives via elective surgical abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic which also diverts necessary medical resources away from the front lines.
Attorney General Maura Healey: (617) 727-2200
Governor Charlie Baker: (617) 725-4005
Find your state senator and local representative by entering your
zip code or address at this link.
By Myrna Maloney Flynn, MCFL President
As far as this business of solitary confinement goes, the most important thing for survival is communication with someone . . . It makes all the difference. -John McCain
Joy’s text said the package arrived just in time. I'd sent her several issues of MCFL’s member magazine featuring her daughter, Hope, who was diagnosed at 12 weeks gestation with an occipital encephalocele, meaning her brain developed outside of her skull. Joy and her husband were told their child was “not compatible with life” and were advised to abort. Now five months old, Hope defied the odds. As I write this, the family is on their way to Boston for Hope’s first surgery this week. They wanted to make sure our magazine got to family and friends before they left.
Please keep Hope, her doctors, and the Dupells in your thoughts and prayers.
About an hour after I sent my April 11 email, in which I shared the compelling story of a Springfield teen who’d recently chosen life for her son, I received a response from a new MCFL member and volunteer named Faith Delaney, who wrote, “MCFL helped me when I was pregnant at age 23, unwed, and my boyfriend wanted me to get an abortion. I was pro-life and followed my beliefs. . . My son is now 32, I went to law school, and have a successful practice in Merrimack Valley. I will donate again but would like to speak to teens when we are allowed to gather.”
Our summer magazine issue will include Faith’s story, along with several other timely, informative, and inspiring pieces. We have chosen to highlight the women of Massachusetts’ pro-life movement, past and present. I got a sneak peek at the contents last week; the issue's going to be one of our best.
The magazine is just one MCFL membership benefit. Members receive voting privileges, ultimately electing the organization’s Board members at our Annual Meeting (due to the pandemic, this will likely be held in the second half of 2020). And when MCFL heads to Beacon Hill, we go on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves, but we also represent our members at the State House and fight on their behalf. In fact, despite the shutdown, my team and I continue our first-of-its-kind strategic lobbying effort with partner organizations and will soon deliver this united message to state representatives on behalf of our thousands of supporters: “Say No to ROE!”
Perhaps the benefit most coveted by our members, though, are the advance event invitations they receive to our well-known and much-anticipated gatherings.
- Members in 2020 will have first dibs on a seat at a November 10th Harvard debate between international pro-life activist Stephanie Gray and campus abortion rights supporters;
- Our members are already looking forward to one of MCFL’s most influential traditions, the Massachusetts March for Life, to be held November 7;
- Members out west will welcome Alveda King on October 15 to celebrate our postponed Mother’s Day Dinner;
- And, of course, MCFL members receive advance invitations to our premier event: the annual fundraising banquet, to be held on Thursday, September 17 at the Four Points Sheraton. It is my honor to announce Melissa Ohden as our keynote speaker.
Melissa is the survivor of a failed saline infusion abortion in 1977. Despite the initial concerns regarding her future after surviving the attempt to end her life at approximately seven months gestation, Melissa has not only survived but thrived. She is a Master’s-level prepared social worker, the author of You Carried Me: A Daughter's Memoir, and the founder and director of The Abortion Survivors Network. Melissa is a frequent contributor to pro-life news outlets and a regular guest on radio and television programs around the world. Fulfilling the purpose that she believes God set out for her when He saved her from the certain death of the abortion attempt, Melissa is truly a voice for the voiceless.
If you’re an MCFL member, then you can relate to the value membership brings. If you’re not, I hope you will join today—to experience our events in a new way, to expand your knowledge though our magazine, to influence MCFL’s leadership and, with your powerful vote, propel this phenomenal organization toward a forward-thinking, vibrant, lifegiving new decade.
I wish you a wonderful week! As we each continue our confinement, I hope you receive all varieties of communication from friends and family, as I have, that make you laugh, prompt a good deed, elicit a prayer, and ensure our common survival.
If you've been stumped about your ability to be and act pro-life effectively under lockdown, this member has summed up some surprisingly simple actions you can take any time and from anywhere, actions that will make you, and our movement, stronger when this pandemic passes.
1. I've been sharing what I've learned at MCFL events with friends and neighbors
-I talked with a friend/neighbor across the gap between our two porches. I felt challenged bringing abortion into the conversation, but we were already talking about the people impacted most by the COVID19 shutdown, so I just shared how many girls I'd met outside Planned Parenthood who were going in to get abortions because they felt like they did not have the resource to carry their baby to term. I learned from an MCFL staff member who spoke at 40 Days to listen first, and listen completely. So I got to hear all of my neighbor's questions before I tried to defend myself too.
It was a great conversation, and I was reminded how grateful I am to have MCFL after I told them about the pregnancy center list online, and the annual gatherings at the banquet and national March for Life.
2. I've been sharing photos of people I know who are heroic advocates for babies, women, and the elderly and disabled on my Instagram
Christina Bennett (pro-life feminist in CT)
-I get to say why these people inspire me to be brave, and not give up. Christina was almost aborted as a preborn baby. I got to know her first by watching the film, Pro-Life Feminist, and then through C.J. at MCFL.
3. I've been asking one acquaintance each week to join MCFL
-Usually, this is on Zoom or messenger. We have a weekly book club with a group that used to meet online. In the after talk, MCFL came up naturally because the book was on dystopias and human rights being eroded.
4. I've been planning ahead for next year, looking at opportunities to join events or support organizations in-person when this pandemic recedes. MCFL is still holding the Massachusetts March for Life on November 7th, and other pro-life action is set for September and October
5. I've been donating the $5-15 dollars I'd spend on Starbucks and/public transportation to MCFL, or a rotating number of pregnancy resource centers, or getting groceries for my elderly neighbor each week
6. I signed the petition asking our legislators to oppose S.1209/H.3320 (the "ROE" Act), which would guarantee late-term abortions, discriminate against so-called "disabled" babies, and take away protections for teens at risk for sex-trafficking. (Here's the link to it: Petition Opposing "ROE" Act.)
7. I've been sending out emails or social media posts a few times a week, asking if any one in my extended circle is pregnant, considering abortion because of financial constraints, or just needing groceries or a friendly call. MCFL staff encouraged me in this, and told me they're setting up a list of members in areas across the state who have offered to do the same
These are small actions. But I've learned it's always the small gestures that make the big differences in the end. When I could stand outside the abortion facility, it wasn't a parade or a shout that saved the baby whose mom met my gaze, and turned around. It was just me being there.
I know we're physically distant from each other right now. That doesn't mean, however, that we have to be emotionally or socially distant. Being pro-life means being: being with. I can do that under any circumstances.
I hope you join me in ticking off some of the actions above, and one-up me even by adding more.
But for now, if you're not a member of MCFL and getting the regular email support, updates, videos, and action items, sign up here.
By Myrna Maloney Flynn, MCFL President
The key to winning is choosing to do God's will and loving others with all you've got.
- Lou Holtz
I pulled the VHS tape from my suitcase and eagerly gave it to my host sister after dinner. Though I was still jet-lagged from my flight to Osaka that morning, I felt only excitement at the thought of finally getting to share the home video I recorded prior to leaving the States. I’d shot snippets of a typical American teenage existence: my rowdy friends, good natured teachers, teasing siblings, my dog.
The whole Suzuki family gathered around the small living room TV to watch: my three host sisters, their parents and grandmother. My host sister pushed the tape into the player, and I anticipated the colorful opening scene—a pep rally in my school gym. Instead, a black and white picture appeared on the screen. In those first few seconds, I wasn’t sure what we were seeing among the images of billowing smoke and apparent chaos. Then I saw the ships and planes above them. “Oh dear God,” I thought. “That’s Pearl Harbor.”
Panic. Prayer. Pivot.
“Yameru!” (Stop!) I called out one of the few words I’d learned in my crash course in Japanese and jumped from my chair, madly searching for the remote control. Nobody moved. They just watched me. The next few seconds felt like a week. I prayed for guidance when no one else moved to turn off the video, seemingly unsurprised by their exchange student’s apparent poor judgment. I took the only action available. I pushed everyone aside, rushed to the player and hit the “stop” button myself, surely breaking all kinds of cultural norms.
From that moment on, I did everything I could to ensure good relationships with my host family, from laughing at jokes I didn’t get, to eating questionable foods, going to school, and taking karaoke seriously. A year later, my own family returned the hospitality I received and welcomed my host sister to our house.
I never learned how the tapes got switched. Even all these years later, it still doesn’t make sense to me. But, as humiliating as the experience was, I’ve come to understand that, for whatever reason, it was part of “The Plan.”
In the last few weeks, you and I experienced a certain level of panic. We have prayed unceasingly, perhaps for a return of very basic things we took for granted last month. We had plans. Lots of them. But for the sake of our neighbors, those we know and those we don’t, but who we love and respect just the same, we have chosen to pivot, to change our plans and make new ones. And as we settle into a “new normal,” we work to understand God’s will in all of this—and to do it.
I write to let you know that, first of all, at MCFL, it’s not panic we feel as much as an urgent sense of duty to recognize and honor those who are on Covid-19 related lifesaving missions. And we pray that we will be able to successfully pivot, as we have been called to do.
For example, we have asked our chapter directors to lead mask-sewing efforts. As I write this, several members have taken their Singers out of storage and are following simple sets of instructions we provided, making mask after mask to be delivered to area medical professionals in need. Want to help? Simply send an email to our team at action @ masscitizensforlife . org
Though we were forced to cancel our Annual Convention and will postpone our May 7 Mother’s Day Dinner, my team and I are in no way turning away from our efforts to defeat the so-called ROE Act. As we have been for over a year, MCFL is still doggedly working, daily, to reach legislators and convey our opposition on your behalf. While we cannot lobby in person as we’d like, we continue to communicate to our elected officials the grave dangers of this bill. If you have not yet done so, please sign our petition today.
Finally, my friends, I ask for your prayers for two members of our MCFL community. A week ago, we learned that former MCFL Board member and current President of the Pro Life Legal Defense Fund, Bob Joyce, tested positive for the coronavirus. He remains hospitalized but, according to his family, is improving after participating in a Remdesiver trial. We learned via email this morning that Bob, “is stable and his oxygen requirement has been reduced by more than 50%. He wants you to know how grateful he is for all of your thoughts and prayers.” A second MCFL community member also received positive test results last week. Please keep both her and Bob in your prayers.
We will win at the end of this thing. In a way, as we pull so quickly together as united, loving citizens during this unprecedented time, we already have. But until the game itself is over, we’ll have to work to discern, and then do, God’s will and love each other with all we’ve got.
Our efforts to restore protection and respect for each individual human life in our Commonwealth continue behind-the-scenes.
Your support at this time is just as critical. Please consider donating today as much as you feel you are able.
Culture shapes how we think of ourselves and others. The current culture is one of the most prominent causes of dehumanization of people everywhere. We are called to shape the culture in a way that respects life at all stages.
By Sonja Morin, MCFL Intern
This week, pro-lifers everywhere are celebrating the anniversary of one of the most significant documents to grace the movement: Evangelium Vitae, or The Gospel of Life.* It has been referred to as one of the best summations of the beliefs of the pro-life movement, not only citing its concerns but creating a structure for activism. The document gives a particular focus on culture, demonstrating the importance of culture to upholding human dignity, as well as a culture’s instrumental role in shedding light on how society dehumanizes many of our most vulnerable members today. Evangelium Vitae spurs on those of us involved in the culture to challenge and change the norms that are present in our world today, so that a culture of life may be restored.
Evangelium Vitae was written by Pope John Paul II, a stalwart of the pro-life movement during the twentieth and early twenty-first century. Pope John Paul II used his experiences and belief in human dignity to advocate for those without a voice throughout his papacy, and this encyclical is a shining example. Ever a masterful writer, John Paul II identifies the issues that plague the world as a result of a cultural dehumanization of our vulnerable, and reviews underlying causes of these attitudes, and what may be done to remedy them. While it is a document created by the leader of the Catholic Church, Evangelium Vitae is truly a document meant for “all people of good will” to consider in terms of human dignity and rights.
What does this document have to say for us, twenty-five years later? It turns out that Pope John Paul II’s words ring truer still for our current situation than perhaps they did upon the first release of the encyclical.
- Culture shapes how we think of ourselves and others.
When Pope John Paul II identifies culture as one of the root causes of dehumanization in the modern world, he recognizes the force of culture in shaping minds and hearts. Culture is not just a system of products and creations; rather, it is a set of beliefs shared by people. These beliefs then stream into the literature, art, and other works people can experience and partake in together. Whether good or bad, these cultural norms and their effects shape our national and global community in how we perceive ourselves and each other.
2. The current culture is one of the most prominent causes of dehumanization of people everywhere.
It is in this document that Pope John Paul II refers so prominently to the “culture of death” the world has inherited. The international culture promotes the idea that value is not objective; rather, it can fluctuate at any time based on anyone’s belief or emotion. If one does not have consistent value, then it does not matter whether someone disregards their dignity or not. One does not have to relate to others, or help them in times of need. One can control life and its effects. One can decide whether the life of another is worth continuation or not. These sad beliefs are the reality of the culture which has taken root in our world.
3. We are called to shape the culture in a way that respects life at all stage.
In the last sections of Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II begs that the people of the world reinstate a “culture of life” for all. This comes first from reversing the beliefs that have too long held grip in our institutions. We must always seek to promote the dignity of life, not only in what we say, but also in how we act towards others. Our love for all people will certainly speak louder. No matter what stage of life we are in, nor what our occupation in life is, we can certainly incorporate these attitudes into our lives. Our action on a day to day basis can - and will - impact the culture.
Cheers to this twenty-fifth anniversary of Evangelium Vitae--a document that does not merely point out the issues of our time, but offers concrete solutions by which anyone may promote the pro-life message of human dignity and value. May the words of Pope John Paul II continue to inspire us as we move forward into such a crucial time for the defense of all life.
We invite you to join MCFL today and begin to challenge and change some concrete aspects of our society in Massachusetts, and restore respect for women, the unborn, and the elderly, vulnerable, or differently abled.
By Dr. Mark Rollo, MCFL Board Member
Regarding the recent letter from Don P. Perez, MD [ in the Worcester Telegram ] I must respectfully yet strenuously disagree. His letter opined that in spite of the coronavirus outbreak state legislators must move forward on passing H. 1926 and S. 1208 which would legalize physician assisted suicide (PAS) in Massachusetts. Actually, it is because of the coronavirus outbreak that we can see the dangers of PAS.
PAS creates a financial incentive to steer people toward suicide. This has already happened in states which have legalized PAS. In some of these states insurance companies and Medicaid have refused to cover expensive therapies but have offered to cover inexpensive suicide pills. The economic pressures exerted by the coronavirus outbreak will only accentuate the temptation to steer the poor, people with disabilities and minorities toward suicide.
Dr Perez noted that nine states have passed PAS laws. However, during the same time period, 30 states have rejected PAS. The supposed absence of abuses in Oregon is an empty statement due to the lack of mandated reporting on PAS. We know that people in Oregon have been steered toward suicide. Barbara Wagner of Oregon is just one of many examples. Medicaid refused to cover expensive chemotherapy for her advanced lung cancer but indicated her suicide pills would be covered.
As a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, I am embarrassed that MMS has opted for neutrality when it comes to protecting the public from PAS.
The American Medical Association continues to rightly strongly oppose PAS as should lawmakers.
Make your voice heard for the vulnerable. Tell your legislator you oppose H. 1926 and S.1208 by emailing and calling the Joint Committee on the Public Health today.
FIND CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC HEALTH AT THIS LINK: Chair and Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health.
Support our continued advocacy by donating today: Secure Donation Here.
Despite Massachusetts' Gov. Baker's ban on elective surgical procedures during the state of emergency surrounding the COVID-19's outbreak, Planned Parenthood has again put abortion promotion before women's safety. And not just women's safety -- the abortion industry giant has decided it's more important to abort than maintain safe social distancing during the pandemic.
In the New Boston Post report, MCFL is quoted:
We were disheartened to learn that, upon Governor Baker’s approval, elective abortion will still be permitted in the coming weeks, even while other elective surgeries have been prohibited due to the coronavirus pandemic. Women’s health and safety should be our top priority now, as always. Risking exposure to the highly contagious disease during visits to abortion clinics not only puts our women at risk but their families and those of clinic workers as well. This is yet another indication that the once-popular abortion-rights mantra ‘safe, legal, and rare’ is a complete farce. In the face of a global pandemic, the abortion industry once again demonstrates that protecting women’s health has never been its priority. Instead, the abortion lobby’s singular goal is to increase the bottom line, even at the expense of risking the health and wellbeing of those who enter their clinics and those who work at them during these unprecedented times.
MCFL President, Myrna Maloney Flynn, also spoke with reporters from The Daily Caller, where she offered a similar comment. It is critical to note the following:
We would like to invite you to write the governor in these challenging times, expressing your concern.
His office can receive email and phone calls at the following address:
ATTN: Governor Charlie Baker, Massachusetts State House, Beacon St #280, Boston, MA 02133
Planned Parenthood, in their healthcare capacity, should be doubly aware of the risks during COVID-19. To insist on performing abortions is to insist that a woman's life has less value than that of the male population. That is not the spirit of our Commonwealth, and it is radically opposed to the fundamental fact of equal rights.
Whether pro-life or pro-choice, we have an obligation to speak out and speak up. One voice--yours--could very well save hundreds of preborn lives, along with as many lives of our born fellow citizens.
By Sonja Morin, MCFL Communications Intern
Even before the screen brightens, the jazz music softly enters, quiet but bright. It rises as the screen fades to a shade of blue reminiscent of the ocean. Watercolors overlap footage of daily life - people walking, trading, exchanging stories - and images of Nelson Mandela and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A woman’s humming joins the calming jazz, floating with the melody. She sings no words in particular. The swirling imagery and music crescendo, enveloping the audience in its thoughtful embrace.
This is the way in which the 2019 documentary Humanité: The Beloved Community introduces itself to the audience. This masterful documentary, directed by Jim Hanon, unfolds as an exploration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision of “the beloved community”: the idea that all people can share in brotherhood despite their diverse circumstances and backgrounds. Specifically, the documentary ponders how music ties people together, even from across the world. Kirk Whalum, a Grammy-award winning musician from Memphis, introduces the idea of the beloved community as he first experienced it growing up. His father worked in the civil rights movement of the 1960s along with Dr. King, right up to the point where the latter was assassinated mere blocks away from their home.
The telling of his story then gives way to others’ as well. Musicians from across the world explain how music has served as a unitive element. “Music… incorporates strands of man in so many different ways”, one recounted. As the stories unfold in Humanité, those strands become clear. For some, it brought musicians out of addiction, destitution, and other struggles. Others testified that music helped them find friends and make connections. Still others felt that music is a conduit of self-expression, while at the same time allowing understanding between performer and listener. The communion between people that is made manifest in music is, quite literally, often beyond words.
The direction and artful interplay of visuals with sounds blend together to immerse the audience in the intertwined stories being presented. The imagery is always tinted a cool shade of blue, much like the aforementioned opening credits. This common thread, no matter the setting, ties together the visuals in a shade that is often used to represent peace and unity. An unusual technique utilized in Humanité is the overlap of footage with still photos, often of Dr. King or Nelson Mandela. This is used at poignant points in the documentary, to demonstrate how the ideas of these deceased leaders are still living in those who seek to be the beloved community. The music swells and decreases, but is always present. Often without words, it allows an audience of diverse languages to enjoy the mood being conveyed without having to decipher lyrics. Not only are the visual and audial elements utilized in such a way that it is pleasing to the audience, but it masterfully sweeps up the audience in the embrace of the conveyed ideals of the beloved community.
The end of Humanité dwells on the lines in Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” regarding the common brotherhood of man. Whalum recounts a particular phrase in the Letter: “If not now, when?” He points out that, despite our great ability to connect with others, we have become more isolated as an international community. If we do not form that bridge to communion with others now, then when? How long will we wait before we recognize the dignity of our brothers and sisters across the world, or close to home, no matter their circumstances? This question is left lingering at the end of the documentary, but not without a realization: that community is possible, even in our stratified and disconnected world. We have the opportunity to create this communion which we, as humans, naturally desire. But it is up to us to create that union, and reach out to those around us in the here and now.