The rains broke. A silent field was filled with joyful cacophony. And LA encountered the most compelling reasons to believe that life is precious in the freshly face-painted families huddled together on picnic blankets, the proud stroller-toting mothers with #feminist 4 life signs, and tear-streamed faces hungry for hope but relieved by the words of Immaculée Ilibagiza. Jamie Grace kicked off the day with her soulful, powerful melody and words to perfectly summarize the day, “There’s something ‘bout the way the sun shines on my face…take me away, it’s a beautiful day.” Truly the day was beautiful. There was unity. There was joy. There was love. There was LIFE.
One week later we’re keeping the spirit of that “beautiful day” in our hearts and minds by reliving some of these highlights:
Rain, rain go away: The clouds parted, the sun pierced the sky, and for one day in a week of relentless rain we were given absolutely perfect weather. You can tell people were pretty excited about it.
Choir of angels: The only thunder that day was the reverberating voices of the 100-person West Angeles Mass Choir. Their resounding praise got us on our feet and our hands in the air singing, “Just can’t stop praising you Jesus.”
Dynamic Duo: Move over, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, there’s a new hosting duo in town. We were so excited to have Karyme Lozano emcee OneLife LA for the third year in a row, joined this year by Chris Stefanick. Their humor, compassion, and devotion for life brought a contagious energy to the crowd.
Powerhouse pipes: Every once in a great while you hear a voice of a caliber that forces you to pause and revel in the majesty and passion of those vocals. Jamie Grace is one of those voices. And behind that voice and guitar lies a heart of pure gold with fervor for life that glimmers in everything from her lyrics to charity work.
Spread the love: The festivities of OneLife LA could be heard from everywhere. This year’s event had big press coverage: NCRegister, to the National Review, to ABC7. The message of OneLife LA was too big to keep in Exposition Park.
Patricia’s on fire: OneLife LA veteran, Patricia Heaton, came back to OneLife LA with more zeal than ever to remind us that,
“Love is not just a word, love is an action that requires courage, energy and personal sacrifice.” Her OneLife spirit is not easily tempered as she’s been an outspoken pro-life devotee on all her social channels.
Millennials Represent: OneLife LA is a celebration for all generations, but it makes us especially happy to see the younger generations in force. High schools, USC, UCLA, and many young adult groups were showing their pro-life pride at OneLife LA giving us confidence to know that we’re passing on the movement into very good hands.
Footloose: Everyone was a dancer on Saturday. Elderly, children, and wallflowers couldn’t resist Conjunto Nacional (especially when they played Vivir mi Vida). And Conjunto Nacional couldn’t resist the crowds, especially after their minute-long cheers for encores.
Supernatural forgiveness: We had the absolute privilege of hearing the testament of Rwandan genocide survivor, Immaculée Ilibagiza, and how through years of prayer in hiding, she was able to forgive her family’s murderers. The value of our theme, CHOOSE LOVE, was heard in her words, “God told me, ‘your life is your gift. You can choose to love or to hate. And if you choose love, I am with you.’”
It’s not over: The dynamism of OneLife LA is incomparable, the memories invaluable, but it is only a shadow in the background of the greater movement. This day is merely momentum for a lifestyle movement we are creating. This lifestyle is one we enculturate in greater gestures when we serve and support pro-life organizations and community partners, but it speaks in the smaller gestures too. In the “courage” Patricia Heaton spoke of to dialogue with those of differing viewpoints. In the tedious daily strength of a vulnerable pregnant woman choosing life. In the “love” Immaculée spoke of, that surges up from a heavenly source when loving someone absolutely unlovable. OneLife LA is far from over. To quote Franklin Roosevelt,
“It has only just begun.”