Everybody Can Serve:
What MLK Can Teach Us About Grassroots Organization
By Sonja Morin, Communications Intern
Early this month, the Supreme Court's crucial decision in the June v. Russo case reaffirmed what has been echoed throughout the past several months: now is the paramount time in the fight against abortion and its ill consequences for women, the pre-born, and society as a whole. The fight is a worthy one, that when successful, will ensure the safety, protection, and empowerment of people everywhere. This fight can simultaneously seem imposing and insurmountable, with many not knowing where to start in their activism. How does one change hearts and culture when they are so firmly set on abortion?
In the past, we have reflected on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s activism. His example of compassion, firmness, and nonviolent demonstration led the civil rights movement by leaps and bounds during the twentieth century and beyond. Dr. King aimed to shape hearts and minds, because through it comes the change necessary to shift culture. Now, more than ever, does it seem appropriate to look back to his example, so we may move forward with daring for the sake of life and liberty. This and the following two posts will examine elements of his activism, to pinpoint strategies that are most helpful to the cause for life and women’s empowerment.
The first clear element of Dr. King’s activism was grassroots organization. This type of institution is one where its members are composed of the local community, and aim to improve the conditions of said community in regards to a particular issue. Individuals first come together out of shared concern over an issue. They decide to work together to actively spread the word about the issue, as well as promote and practice solutions for it. Individuals are united against issues that attack the humanity of a person or group, not because they are the same as the attacked persons, but because they share humanity. This shared status is reason enough to be angered by the injustice, and encourages the motivation to reverse the injustice.
Grassroots organization is incredibly effective by nature in its ability to identify and solve local issues. Dr. King worked within the communities to identify the issues applying to civil rights within each area, so that change could be demanded within those areas. In the same way, pro-life grassroots movements can find the issues within each community that need to be addressed through action or help. For example, if there is an area lacking resources for women facing unexpected pregnancies, resources could be pooled to ensure that these women feel secure and supported in their decision to choose life. If there is a law in a city that makes abortion even more unsafe than it already is, the community within that city can call for it to be repealed.
Grassroots organization also encourages the changing of hearts and minds like no other form of movement. Discrimination is the result of disordered, prejudiced thinking, which breaks relationships between people. Grassroots movements are based in communities, which are uniting forces. They rely on actions between persons, rather than large entities against each other. This interpersonal nature of their activism appeals directly to the heart. The community is able to witness the positive change the organization accomplishes, as well as witness the respect the organization gives to the dehumanized. Eventually, these actions will move the community to accept these dehumanized persons as the organization has. The impact of the grassroots movement grows, not because of large actions, but rather because of interpersonal foundation and efforts.
It is not to say that top-down organizations, such as political parties, cannot create or implement change. However, especially in situations where discrimination and dehumanization are involved, it is all too easy for such groups to generalize the situation. This generalization not only leads to incomplete solutions, but also expediencies that do not solve the root issues. Grassroots movements respond to these flaws by speaking to individual and smaller-community needs, thus allowing their solutions to work through and with people on an ever-growing scale. With each person’s contribution comes a newer and more diverse understanding of the situation, as well as a better way to help.
Dr. King’s utilization of grassroots organization caused the civil rights movement to reach countless hearts throughout the United States, and help improve conditions for African Americans in all spheres of life. If we participate in pro-life grassroots movements, like our own MCFL, we are entering into the same kind of culture-shifting, interpersonal work that he and many movements before undertook. It is through this type of organization that will create positive change for the pre-born and women we strive to defend every single day.
For those interested in taking part in grassroots efforts in Massachusetts, join MCFL today! We are a MA-based grassroots organization with chapters in all parts of the state. Get in contact with your chapter's leader here: MCFL Chapter List
For those already part of MCFL: Consider your own activism efforts. How are you currently contributing to the cause? In what ways could you improve or grow your efforts?
COURT RULES -- Check the press release and details here.
Perhaps as early as today, the U.S. Supreme Court will pass down its decision on June Medical Services vs. Russo, a case that pits safe medical practices and women's health against the for-profit abortion industry. If the decision is made in favor of the abortion business, doctors in abortion facilities will not be required to have hospital privileges to perform even late-term abortions.
There could not be a less commonsense decision, or one more opposed to protecting human life.
Planned Parenthood and NARAL claim that a decision that requires abortionists to provide the best care will close the majority of Louisiana abortion clinics. But if those abortuaries are not equipped to save the lives of the women who trust them, what is the point of being open in the first place? Abortion always takes the life of a child. If it risks the mother's life, there is not even a pro-choice justification for its legality.
A similar case was brought to the court just a few years ago (Whole Woman's Health vs. Hellenstadt). The court struck down the requirement that abortion providers maintain hospital privileges in Texas. The fact that they are now willing to hear a similar case from Louisiana is an encouraging sign that the justices as a group are more willing to review out-dated, irrational and dangerous pro-abortion laws.
Whatever the outcome, we continue to stand in the gap protecting our women and infants in Massachusetts by opposing the "ROE" Act (S.1209/H.3320).
A decision may be made as early as June 25th, 2020. The final day for the court to hand down a decision is Monday, June 29th. Keep in touch for updates, and use your social media to support our friends on the Supreme Court steps all this week, and speak for the women and children targeted and used by the abortion industry.
An excellent review of the background of this case is provided by Kelsey Hazzard, esq., here
Watch the video below for on-the-ground coverage from a diverse
range of pro-life activists standing up for life in D.C.
"Patients before profits! Deadbeat doctors have got to go!"
What a momentous day we shared at the State House yesterday! If you were able to join us, you know I'm not exaggerating when I say that, without a doubt, we delivered a resounding, united "NO" before those who question whether more abortions are what the Commonwealth's citizens want. Outside on the steps, within overflow seating areas, and inside at the microphone, a loving, earnest, and firm pro-life message easily muffled that of the opposition.
Sitting idle, the few remaining people in pink apparently did not want, or perhaps could not find the words, to respond.
Thank you for joining us yesterday.
Thank you for signing our petition.
Thank you for your generous gifts which allowed us to execute our June 17 campaign with force!
This effort is not yet finished.
Please continue to follow our updates regarding these bills. (Chairman Cronin adjourned the hearing without giving any indication of what the committee's next move would be.) And I ask: keep educating those who you know to be supporters of the bills about the legislation's many flaws. If one thing was prominent yesterday, it's that most proponents of the so-called "ROE" Act have not even read the legislation nor taken time to understand its likely repercussions.
He has indicated in recent days both a potential willingness to accept the bill as well as a hesitation to see it on his desk. Therefore, your voice carries tremendous weight this week!
Yesterday was yesterday, and we blew the top off the State House. But we must not become complacent. We're merely shifting gears to press on to the finish line, and at top speed.
I am so proud to work with each of you, and I look forward to carrying our momentum into the next few weeks.
With sincere gratitude,
Myrna Maloney Flynn
Massachusetts Citizens for Life
This is no drill. This Summer, our legislature could approve S.1209, and deny our women protective medical regulations, deny our children protections from sex predators, deny our infants life-saving medical treatment.
Anti-life demonstrators flooded the state house just last week in an attempt to pressure our lawmakers to approve this law.
Will you live in a world that discards the vulnerable, the preborn, our women and girls?
There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
It’s a challenge to actively be pro-life in Massachusetts. Particularly in Northampton, where I live, advocates for the preborn are few. Voices of abortion rights supporters drown out those of us who speak for the voiceless.
For many years, I responded with a relative non-response: silence born of intimidation. But gradually, my conscience awoke to the reality of the behavior that’s become “normal,” and smothered my fear.
Then I sprang into action born of love.
Love for women who get lies, when they most need support.
Love for fathers who never know, who are just as scared, or who buy the same lies.
Love for doctors whose sight fails them.
Love for politicians who trade lives for votes.
And aching love for innocent, lost members of our society, whose potential we will never know.
Meaningful action relieves the pain that abortion injects into our world.
Whereas sitting on the sidelines became increasingly uncomfortable for me, taking to the field energizes as no endorphin can do, especially when you play with a great team.
I know you love as I do.
So show your love in action. Join our team, advocate for the voiceless, and jump off the sidelines into a lifesaving game.
Or donate to bring another into this freeing, life-saving demonstration.
This year’s theme: Love in Action.
Recruit friends, bring family, post photos with the #LoveInAction hashtag, and show others how to play the game—and win.
It may not be popular to be pro-life here. It may be esier to stay home and keep quiet. But to defend the lives and rights of our vulnerable citizens, whether preborn or born, requires us to listen to our conscience and actively, boldly love.
See you on the Common,
Myrna Maloney Flynn
Vice President, Massachusetts Citizens for Life
C.J. Williams, Director of Community Engagement
CONTACT THE MEMBERS OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC HEALTH TODAY BY CLICKING HERE.
If you know what district you're in, you may be the difference in stopping S.1209, the infanticide bill.
Are these your representatives?
They need to hear from you. Each one sits on the Joint Committee of Public Health. Before S.1209 can advance to a vote in the legislature, it needs to clear the committee. Even pro-abortion politicians like our governor, Baker, call S.1209 a law legalizing infanticide, and bad law for our women, infants, & children.Read more
WOMEN TO RALLY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, AGAINST MASS R.O.E. ABORTION ACT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Boston, MA -- 29 March 2019 -- A rally, spearheaded by longtime human rights organization, Mass Citizens for Life, and co-sponsored by a diverse group of non-profit and advocacy groups in Massachusetts, including Renew Mass Coalition, will be held March 30, 2pm on the Boston Common at the corner of Park and Beacon nearest the State House in opposition to s.1209, An Act to Remove Obstacles and Expand Access to Abortion.
The purpose of the rally is to highlight the bill’s extreme provisions, from the legalization of passive infanticide, to rerouting funds in our Healthy Start program for new mothers and babies towards abortion businesses. Citizens from as far as Amherst are expected to attend, and a slate of speakers -- mostly women -- will address the rally.
Said Myrna Flynn, MCFL Board Member & Chair of the Communications Committee: “The very name of this legislation should prompt women to question its purpose. 'Remove Obstacles and Expand Access.'”
“Voters of Massachusetts believe that if abortion is allowed, it should be safe for women, and only undertaken for serious reasons," added Debby Dugan, Board Member of Renew Mass Coalition. "The R.O.E. Act throws this framework out the window, removing safeguards designed to protect women and legalizing no-questions-asked late-term abortion-on-demand for any reason, for girls of any age. Our laws should be designed to protect women and girls, not prioritize the bottom line of abortion businesses.”
Start or jump-start your MCFL chapter this year with 4 QUICK STEPS. You are the advocate for the unborn, the marginalized, the vulnerable in our Commonwealth. Move your commitment into impact by creating a strong community of fellow advocates, receiving resources from our state office, and engaging in outreach & action.
THE QUICK STEPS
Massachusetts citizens turned out in droves for the National March for Life! We met up with the Archdiocese of Boston, multiple high schools, and the Boston-and-Worcester-based Pure in Heart contingent.
Some of us joined the Women's March, to bring a consistent and truly pro-woman message to their platform of nonviolence. Our rights as women cannot be bought at the price of the lives of our more vulnerable children.
Check out the photos, and the captions for micro-stories on this event.
You may hear the media report the March had "a few thousand". We were close to 1 million strong. Don't forget, here at home: We are not alone.
It was MASS-ive pro-life. And we, from Massachusetts -- so often trailblazers in the past for human rights, the democratic process in our nation, medical and technological development -- can also be trailblazers in the human rights issue of our age.
From the Democrats for Life Forum to the March for Life itself, and from the amazing pre-March youth rally with Louisiana Right to Life to the Rose Dinner, our carpool, and the many buses, participated in just about every activity they could.Read more
by C.J. Williams, Director of Community Engagement
Massachusetts is a wealth of historical depth and opportunities. From Bunker Hill, to Lexington, from Walden Pond to the Old State House, we're steeped in a tradition that began with recognizing and fighting for individual human rights. Perhaps we who live in the Commonwealth too easily forget what our state offers in terms of memory.
Perhaps we forget that memory is often what roots our feet in present action, and supports our current fight for the same rights.
One highly underappreciated gem in our state is the birthplace of Susan B. Anthony. A well-known feminist, and campaigner for equal rights, Susan B. Anthony is less well known for her just as fierce opposition to the creeping practice of abortionRead more