The spring semester is typically full of boots-on-the-ground projects for Students for Life of America. A cross-country speaking tour on a particular theme related to current events is usually underway, along with SFLA president Kristan Hawkins’ “Lies Feminists Tell” tour. Since the coronavirus has emptied college campuses and sent students back to their hometowns in droves, SFLA has nimbly adapted to meet students where they are: online.
Live Action News spoke to Kristi Hamrick, media chief for Students for Life, about the group’s various education and activism initiatives to “keep educating the pro-life generation about the events that are affecting them.” She also noted the benefits and challenges of all-digital outreach.
In keeping with Students for Life’s goal of addressing current events from a pro-life perspective, SFLA held a series of weekly national pro-life “how-to” trainings during April on Facebook Live featuring topics like “How to Impact Planned Parenthood’s Business and Sidewalk Counsel,””How to Change Minds Online,””How to Change Abortion Culture,””How to Provide Non-violent Patient Care,” and “How You can Engage in the 2020 Elections.” On April 15th, SFLA hosted an online screening of the film “Unplanned.”
On Friday, May 1st, the group will sponsor National Pro-Life Sidewalk Chalk Day (including a contest). Between now and Mother’s Day, Students for Life is also hosting a massive online diaper drive, encouraging students to fill Amazon registries for pregnancy help centers across the nation. Students additionally have the opportunity to access free “training, tools, and collaboration” resources at the Students for Life HQ website.
In addition to educating and fortifying pro-life students leaders, Students for Life is equipping them to engage with pro-choice friends and family in order to change hearts and minds. According to SFLA’s Facebook page, they’ve recently launched a series of #why videos, “featuring the pro-life movement’s top legislators, apologists, scientists, and more,” providing “probing, thoughtful, and straight-shooting answers to questions we are all asking. #Why goes directly to heart of the issues and provides the answers that matter to the questions that are being asked.”
Previous #why videos have encouraged students to “find your answer” to why you are pro-life, educated students on “why feminists exclude some women from the feminist movement,” and “why culture matters.” Additionally, the ongoing T.A.L.K. campaign continues on towards the goal of students having 250,000 conversations about abortion during the 2020 school year. Based on the experience of Students for Life regional coordinators who saw a “50% rate of minds changed about abortion” after in-person conversations in 2019, the 250k goal aims to win over 125,000 new members of the pro-life generation. On the T.A.L.K. website, students are encouraged to pledge a goal number of conversations, learn how to effectively communicate about abortion, including “the hard cases,” go have conversations (primarily online), and log results.
Students for Life upped the ante by offering Amazon gift cards and other prizes to students who have the most conversations.
Kristi Hamrick told Live Action News that Students for Life was uniquely situated to thrive in an all-digital situation because their national network model already included weekly virtual meetings of regional coordinators, representing over 1,250 student groups in all 50 states.
The benefit of doing pro-life outreach during the coronavirus pandemic, she said, is that “people have the time, and they are looking for things to do.” The challenge comes from the inability to have conversations in person, or to “have our voices heard in real time” during speaking tours or at rallies in response to current events. Still, Hamrick said, “Students for Life has always been good at acting on the spot.”
Judging by their work so far, they haven’t missed a beat.
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