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Crowds gather to support the pro-life movement. Nic Rowan | Col­legian

“DO some­thing instead of writing on a sidewalk.” This was written in front of Mossey Library on the Hillsdale Student for Life’s annual “Chalk Day.” Though, as a par­tic­ipant in the event, the note was frus­trating (and ironic, con­sid­ering it told stu­dents not to write on the sidewalk by writing on the sidewalk), the more I thought about it, the more I simul­ta­ne­ously agreed and dis­agreed with the statement.

I doubt the author meant to be taken lit­erally — chalking is “doing some­thing.” If it wasn’t, then why did my body object to kneeling on a rough sidewalk at 8 a.m. to draw hun­dreds of hearts? So the­o­ret­i­cally, there are at least two moti­va­tions for the statement. If the author was appealing to the hypocrisy of apa­thetic pro-lifers, then I agree with the sen­timent. But if the author meant that only doing “big things” matter or can make a dif­ference, then I dis­agree.

I think the author right­fully noticed that many people who claim to be pro-life don’t do much about it. They might vote pro-life, march for life, or buy a “Choose Life” bumper sticker, but when it comes down to the hard stuff, like lob­bying for pro-life leg­is­lation or sharing with a friend why abortion is wrong, we cave. We often don’t have the guts to stand up for the thou­sands of innocent lives mur­dered daily. I know people struggle with this because I have myself.

Last semester, I was con­victed of my lack of involvement in the pro-life movement. I vividly remember the American Her­itage class when we read “Letter From a Birm­ingham Jail.” Although it was the second time I had read the speech, it was the first time I realized Martin Luther King Jr.’s plea tran­scended farther than the Civil Rights movement and applied to my own apathy about abortion. I claimed to be pro-life, voted pro-life, yet was com­fortable doing nothing else to fight the slaughter around me. I was one of those Chris­tians who knew abortion was wrong but didn’t care enough to get out of my comfort zone or try to make a dif­ference. That day in American Her­itage, I realized that I was no dif­ferent from the Chris­tians with whom King pleaded. He urged them to join the effort to end seg­re­gation; just like he was urging me to fight the injustice of abortion.

So, if the author’s claim ends with an accu­sation of my apathy and a call to start helping, then I whole­heartedly agree. If I really believe abortion is the unjus­tified taking of a human life, then I need to be com­mitted to ending abortion; which will require per­sonal sac­rifice.

But the statement itself goes farther and implies some­thing deeper, even if it was unin­tended by the author. The statement implies that only bigger, more sig­nif­icant, and more impactful things count as “doing some­thing.”

This begs the question: Which ways of getting involved are sig­nif­icant enough to make a dif­ference? Does that mean some­thing has to make a dif­ference to be worth doing? If we apply this rea­soning to how we get involved, then we will con­stantly second-guess our actions. Is vol­un­teering at a preg­nancy care center “big enough,” or is that too insignif­icant? How about col­lecting loose change in baby bottles? Is marching in Wash­ington D.C. “big enough?” What about being involved in a pro-life club on a mostly pro-life campus?

My point is, if we con­stantly weigh whether an action is sig­nif­icant enough, we will be par­a­lyzed to inaction. As humans, we are often tempted to think that the little things don’t matter, and, therefore, to put them off until a bigger, more glam­orous and self-glo­ri­fying oppor­tunity arises for us to show off to the world how much we care. But in reality, if we wait around for the perfect oppor­tunity, it will never come. If we wait for the most ideal way to fight injustice, we will never join the fight.

Instead, we should take advantage of every oppor­tunity to make a dif­ference, no matter how big or small the action is. The little things we do daily — praying to end abortion, col­lecting loose change for dona­tions, boy­cotting an orga­ni­zation that sup­ports abortion, and even drawing col­orful little hearts on a sidewalk — are con­stant reminders of the injustice we are fighting. If you think doing these little things isn’t enough, I agree. But while the little actions may not seem to make a dif­ference, they prepare us for the battle. And when the time comes to stand before a com­mittee to lobby for pro-life leg­is­lation, to do out­reach or sidewalk coun­seling, or to share with a pregnant friend why you know her baby is a human life worth pro­tecting, you will be ready. This is why we do the little things. These daily reminders keep the fight con­stantly before us, motivate us to go outside our comfort zone and be inten­tional about fighting, and prepare us to take action in unex­pected and more dif­ficult sit­u­a­tions.

To whoever wrote on the sidewalk: Thank you. You get it; it is not enough to say you are pro-life and con­tinue ignoring the legalized mass-murder hap­pening in towns nearby. That’s hypocrisy and you aren’t afraid to call it out. But if you assume that chalking isn’t “doing some­thing,” you are wrong. So allow me to join you in urging others to “do some­thing.” Read a pro-life apolo­getics book so you can better engage with pro-abortion friends. Vol­unteer at a preg­nancy care center so you can show love to women who need help choosing life. Go to the March for Life. Write your senator. Lobby for pro-life leg­is­lation. Don’t stand down when someone ridicules you for speaking the truth. Do some­thing. But don’t believe the lie that only big things matter. Don’t believe the lie that you can only help the cause by doing full-time, pro-life work. Don’t be par­a­lyzed by the fear that what you do might not make an impact. Do some­thing. Even the little things. Even if it’s just writing on a sidewalk.

Ade­laide Holmes is a George Wash­ington Fellow and a junior studying pol­itics.

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    It would be nice if we could promote more com­ments on these articles. There have been nearly 200 ‘views’ on this article since it was posted-and I’m the only one who com­mented on it?

    I’m going to be 64 next week and I’m really dis­ap­pointed in the lack of par­tic­i­pation of this current gen­er­ation. They’re intel­ligent, they care, they have energy-but they won’t jump in and par­tic­ipate. Agree with me or dis­agree with me, but don’t sit on your hands. Only by open airing of our views can we arrive at Truths.

  • Jen­nifer Melfi

    Before you “do” any­thing with regard to this subject I think you should read this: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2003/02/hitchens200302, and then pause to con­sider where your impact can really be felt along the chain of events that leads to this event, if and when, you choose to keep this as a pri­ority.