Story by Dominic Winter
(SNR) - January 31 will see the Nebraska complement to the celebrated March for Life, the Nebraska Walk for Life. It is the largest First Amendment demonstration in the state.
The gathering begins at 9:30 a.m. next to the state capitol at 14th and K streets. Around 10 a.m., the rally begins with the pledge of allegiance and the national anthem as extra people stream out of the Life Mass at St. Mary. This year, Nebraska’s new governor, Pete Rickets, will address the crowd during the rally.
Attendees may use street parking or garages between the capitol and the Union. Buses drop off at the capitol at 16th and K streets, two blocks east of the rally.
The walk proper will begin about 10:40 a.m. and proceed from the capitol to the UNL student Union at 14th and R streets: about half a mile walking. At the Union, everyone is invited to listen to the keynote speaker upstairs in the Centennial Room: Mario St. Francis.
In addition to the approximately 1,000 seats for the talk, the Union will house a bake sale and booths with other pro-life groups in the ballroom next to the Centennial Room. All bake sale proceeds will support the Walk. Organizers stressed that anyone who would like to hear the talk can almost certainly find a spot in the Union within earshot.
Julie Schmit-Albin, executive director of the Nebraska Right to Life, said Mario St. Francis was chosen as the keynote speaker due to his dynamic story and the appeal he should have for all ages.
The talk includes a short pro-life update and a call to action in supporting pro-life senators. This year, Nebraska Right to Life has two pieces of legislation for walkers to recommend to senators.
Schmit-Albin emphasized the Walk as a statewide event: a kind of reunion for pro-lifers statewide.
“It’s a chance for pro-lifers to get reinvigorated and we give them something to do when they get home,” she said. “It cuts across generations, like a cross-section of Nebraska. The children can see that their parents and grandparents have done this too.”
An event like this requires a large set of volunteers and Nebraska Right to Life is always looking for help, and organizers asked that people please be generous with your donations both at the rally and at the bake sale. For the Walk, Nebraska Right to Life requires police, barricades, a sound system and rental of the Student Union in addition to the flyers, legislation packages and balloons. In all, the Walk costs about $6,000, supported by donations.
“It’s a frenzy to get it all ready the morning of,” she said, “but it is well-worth it.”