This summer marks the 24th consecutive year of Crossroads Pro-Life Walks Across America. Crossroads was founded in 1995 by then-college student Steve Sanborn. Sanborn was responding to now-Saint Pope John Paul II’s 1993 Denver World Youth Day message calling for a “culture of life” to counteract abortion, euthanasia, and all violations of human dignity.
That first summer, Sanborn and several friends donned white t-shirts emblazoned with one simple message: Pro Life. According to their website:
Each summer, young adults walk on up to 3 simultaneous pro-life walks across America from Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles to Washington, DC. Walking almost 10,000 miles and through 36 states, these young people hope to convert the hearts and minds of others – at the grass-roots level – by witnessing to the dignity and sanctity of all human life, from the moment of conception to natural death. Crossroads also conducts Pro-Life walks across Australia and Canada, made up of volunteers from those countries.
This year’s two 12-week walks began in May in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and will culminate in an August 12th rally in Washington, D.C. Crossroads walkers are organized into shifts, starting at sunrise with a changing of the guard at noon. A support van accompanies the group, and walkers liken it to a cross between “a pilgrimage” and a “relay race” across the country. They walk Monday through Friday, praying at abortion facilities and engaging in sidewalk counseling towns where they stop, and speaking at churches and other events on weekends. Their purpose is primarily to raise awareness of the pro-life message, and to dispel the myth that most of America is pro-abortion.
On the group’s About page, they write of their mission and purpose:
During our pilgrimages across the United States, Australia, and Canada, we strive always to join our efforts, prayers and small sacrifices with the sufferings of Christ – crucified for the sake of all, born and unborn.
We also speak to parish groups to encourage pro-life activism in their communities.
During the walk, we stop at local abortion clinics along the route to participate in prayerful, peaceful protests and to counsel women in crisis pregnancies to help them choose life for their unborn child.
Crossroads recognizes the need to spread the message of life and love through the means that the modern world provides. We actively participate in radio, television and newspaper interviews with local media as well as many religious media outlets.
The walkers, ages 18-30, are housed by a network of host families. Veronica and Eric Williams of Ely, Nevada, hosted Crossroads walkers traveling along US Highway 50, “the loneliest road in America,” several times in years past.
Eric Williams told Live Action News, “It’s rare these days for anyone to follow through with any commitment. They walk the walk, talk the talk.”
April and Alex Ritz of Effingham, Illinois, also hosted several male walkers as they traveled through the area earlier this month. April told Live Action News, “My husband, 6 month old son, and I were grateful to welcome Chris from Texas and Josh from Indiana into our home for the night. Hearing all their stories from witnessing to people and how others have been personally affected by abortion was very powerful. They wear PRO LIFE shirts, pray as they walk, and pray outside of abortion clinics on their route,” she said.
April added that seeing young people getting involved in being more vocally pro-life is an encouragement to other pro-lifers. “With majority of the media supporting abortion, I think it is easy to feel like we are fighting this battle alone. This group of young college students were witnesses of the importance of life and gave my husband and I renewed hope!”
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