“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
Until last Tuesday, I was Executive Director of CLC Youth and part of the elections team for Campaign Life Coalition. Since I was 13 years-old, I’ve been passionate about the pro-life cause and landed my dream job working for this well-known pro-life organization in Canada right out of university. I didn’t know what I would be doing, but I knew whatever it was would be meaningful, because I would be helping women and children, one life at a time. This gave me a reason the get up every morning. It also gave me a reason to leave Campaign Life Coalition after almost six years of full-time employment.
Over the years, I was given many opportunities I never could have imagined: planning the March for Life Youth Conference and Youth Banquet, speaking at the event’s press conference, and emceeing at the March for Life rally. I lobbied at the United Nations, ran the summer internship for years, flew to different provinces for speaking engagements, and most recently, I drove across the country for two months with my friends from CCBR, in a van, with Trudeau’s crossed-out face on the side, rallying up pro-life troops to get politically active in the most recent federal election.
Of course there were trials and tribulations, but I was motivated in my work and driven by my pro-life passion. I wanted to see Canada become a country that respected human life. My goal was to train young people to be leaders in the movement, provide life-affirming options to women going through crisis pregnancies, and above all, to nominate, elect and help politicians stand strong for the pro-life cause. I knew they needed support in their constituencies, and in Ottawa, when putting forward motions and bills that would protect our fundamental human rights. That is after all, why CLC existed.
I was 22 years-old, full of hope, ambition and admiration for an organization that much of my family supported and even worked for during their heyday. Many of my friends, family, fellow pro-life leaders and youth advocates across the country told me how proud they were of me, and at times that I was the reason why they became involved in the pro-life movement. As I became more experienced and knowledgable in politics, pro-life advocacy and non-profit organization, I realized I was reaching my breaking point in my current position.
Not why I quit my job:
I didn’t quit my job because I am leaving the pro-life movement. I also didn’t quit because it was too hard. It’s true there would be days when I would come home, change into my pyjamas and curl up under the covers with chocolate and a glass of wine because I was unable to change someone’s mind, or got yelled at on the street, or received an especially harsh piece of hate mail. I won’t deny that. But these thing didn’t wear me down, they only motivated me to be better and to work harder. I also didn’t quit my job because of how little I was paid, or how much overtime was required. I quit because I knew there was a void in the pro-life movement and I had acquired the skills and connections necessary to fill it in a way that working at CLC would not allow. I know that great lobbying initiatives by another organization exist, and I knew I could complement what is already being done by filling this void to strengthen current efforts, and help move them forward.
The problem with CLC:
I want to start by saying that I think Campaign Life Coalition is an organization full of beautiful souls with the best of intentions. Many of them, including the founder and President, Jim Hughes, have sacrificed much of their lives to attempting to fight the culture on many fronts. Working at CLC gave me the opportunity to meet amazing pro-life supporters and local leaders across the country who inspired me and motivated me to become better. No one needs to tell me how awful I was at interviews as a fresh-faced, inexperienced 20-something- year- old, going against professional debaters. Or how not to roll my eyes to the moon and back when people on the street disagreed with me, or used the same old arguments in favour of abortion. I was provided the opportunity to better myself and to get to know and learn from experienced activists from other organizations. As I became more experienced, I was able to find out what skills I didn’t have, and also what skills I did. I saw thousands of feedback forms accumulated over the years after presenting to high school classes and assemblies, where students in all grades became pro-life after hearing the logic behind it.
I found I could network with people of all ages and get them involved in the pro-life activism that best suited their personalities. I found it easy to talk to politicians and staffers finding common ground we could use to work together. I often organized groups of people to attend events or various types of activism and found it thrilling and invigorating when I could bring tens of young people to scrutineer or canvass for a pro-life candidate during an election, regardless of the party. I saw the need and importance of getting people out to a nomination meeting and revelled in the fact that you only needed to be 14 to vote in one. Above all, I saw how campaigning for pro-life candidates brought our message and our voice in a reasonable and helpful way to the ones who mattered most: the people who could enact life-saving legislation. These are the things I excel at, and in many areas of Canadian political activism, these were the things that were not being done.
I wasn’t the only one who saw the void. In an effort to fulfill this need, over the past three months, myself and others from CLC put together a plan to launch our own pro-life organization that would excel in these areas and achieve success in an effective and efficient way. These plans became known by CLC and we were faced with the difficult decision to resign.
You’re always going to miss your chance if you never take a risk. I am willing to risk unemployment, discomfort, gossip, and the struggles of creating a start-up for the chance to end abortion in my lifetime. I have an amazing business partner who I respect and trust completely. We have spent months researching and putting together a fool-proof business plan to catapult ourselves into the forefront of the political pro-life battle. We’ve been speaking with donors who believe in our plan and having daily meetings with those who are opening doors. We will launch this month.
We know we cannot do this without your support. By clicking here, you will show me and my team that you believe in our mission and believe we can win. By joining us, you will be telling me that you understand that Canada’s laws need to change, and they need to change right now.
As a 13 year-old, I encountered the importance of the pro-life cause in a real and powerful way. It was free in the way that only the passions of a child can be. I feel like I’m back to that 13 year-old version of myself. I have no job. I have no idea what the future may hold. But I do know that one day I’ll be in the same position again, only this time, it will be because my mission is complete.