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Students spread the pro-life message at farmers market

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Cora Wack and her father saw something unexpected one summer morning while strolling through the Annandale Farmers Market at Mason District Park. As they perused through the selection of tomatoes, peaches and peppers, they spotted a booth run by pro-choice advocates.

“We were just shocked,” said Wack, a student of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville who works at Queen of Apostle Church in Alexandria over the summer. “We were thinking, why don’t we just set up a pro-life table? How hard can it be to get it approved?”

So she talked to the organizer of the famers market, who told her that nonprofits such as Queen of Apostles can man booths for free. She asked her pastor and boss if she could take Thursday mornings off. Their response was, “Go for it,” said Wack. Her father helped her set up the tent, table and chairs.

Just a few weeks after having the initial idea, Wack and her friends were sitting under a tent decorated with signs that proclaimed “We are the pro-life generation.” Pro-life literature littered the table. For whatever reason, she hasn’t seen the pro-abortion advocates set up a booth in weeks.

As shoppers passed by, the young pro-lifers wished them good morning and offered them a homemade cupcake laden with sprinkles. Some encouraged the young people — one man showed off a photo of his “four-legged baby” and several kids snagged the sweets. Others walked on by.

“We’ve been hoping that they’ll just come in and have a discussion with us, no matter what side they are,” said Wack. But sometimes, the conversations have derailed. “People want to twist the issue, like, ‘Oh what are you doing for the kids at the border? Do you feed the hungry?’ ” she said. “People just don’t want to face the reality of (abortion).”

Thankfully, Wack has experience talking about pro-life issues. She first became involved in the movement when she attended Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington. She’s now the social media coordinator for Hoos for Life, the pro-life club at the University of Virginia. “Abortion is the silent holocaust,” said Wack. “We just have to be vocal about it. (It feels like) the media and the pro-choice side overwhelm us (but) there are a lot of us, and we have the facts on our side.”

That day, Wack was joined by three friends: Natalie Archer, a rising senior at O’Connell, Deion Sanchez-Viafara and Nora Beatty, two friends she met while on a mission trip in Banica in the Dominican Republic. Beatty said she was grateful to have the opportunity to be a witness for the pro-life message. “People call us old-fashioned (because) we want abortion gone. It’s not,” she said. “We have so many young (people) who believe in the dignity of human life.”

As the young adults chatted amongst themselves, one woman asked if her teenage daughter could man the table with them one Thursday. Wack and the woman happily exchanged information. “You guys really are the pro-life generation,” said the woman. “We’re going to see the end of this.” 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019

@ZoeyMaraistACH