Teens from Knoxville Catholic Rally for Other and Alike

Clare Souder, Staff Writer

January proved to be the month of protests for students on both the national and local level. Participation in protesting, an atypical form of political engagement, provided students of with an opportunity to not only band together in solidarity, but to also call others to action on social and political issues they find important.

Students and teachers alike believe that cohesion and commonalities exist between the two marches and that more can be done to increase these commonalities.

The 45-year-old March For Life, as well as the National Women’s March, collectively champion for recognition of the equal rights of all. For the dignity of every human person, from conception to natural death, students came together to have their voices heard.

As a Catholic school, the mission to protect all stages of life technically falls under the banner of both marches. The Women’s March, for example, marches for gender equality and immigration reform, while the March for Life protests against the killing of the unborn. Though both marches are seen as politically charged and controversial, many students and teachers believe that the main objective of the marches is not to side with a particular party or a single issue, but to fight for policies regarding human rights that pervades a single ideal and party alignment.

“I believe that at the core, we [protesters] were marching for the same thing,” sophomore Zoe Haub expressed.

For some, like sophomore Andrea Subtirelu, her reason for rallying with the 14,000 people in the local Women’s March in Downtown Knoxville on January 20th, 2018, was personal.

“My dad is from Romania and my mom is from Venezuela. So, it does hit close to home because I know how much of an impact they make and how much work they have done to bring themselves up in this country,” Andrea stated. “I marched for basic human rights. I guess for everyone, not specifically for women,but minority groups and for all.”

Like Subtirelu, sophomore Zoe Haub felt that her march down Constitution Avenue on January 20th, towards the pillared Supreme Court where the famous case Roe v. Wade was ruled, was not only motivated by the singular issue of abortion.

“I think it’s not only for abortion, but it [the March] should be also for aiding refugees, the LGBT community, those on death row and suicide awareness, all life. Everyone’s life has a purpose. I feel like that gets lost with the pro-life and pro-choice labels. I was marching for the unborn, women, men, refugees and everyone,” Haub summated.

For these two students, participating in the Women’s March and the March for Life was not just for women’s rights and the rights for the unborn, but for many underrepresented issues.

 

While discussing the importance for teens to engage in protestation for a broad range of social justice issues, Father Manning commented, “The protest in general has been used in the past to bring about real change, especially in the past regarding race.This is important, because if we continue to turn the ‘other’ [person] into ‘OTHER’ whether it’s an immigrant or a fetus, we have turned them into someone other than worthy of the dignity that we as Church understand them to be worthy of.”

This sentiment expresses not only what the Catholic Church teaches on matters of social justice, but illustrates the broad motive of students to continue cultivating a culture of action in defense of all: the poor, the weak, the marginalized and all of those who are in need of defense.

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