BY CHRISTIAN ANDZEL
Photo provided by Christian Andzel.
Groundbreaking. If there was one other word besides "resilient" that describes the University at Buffalo Students for Life, groundbreaking would certainly be the word. Never before on the liberal campus of the University at Buffalo has the topic of abortion been raised, debated, and argued and stirred up controversy as it has over the last two years. Although abortion is the main topic we focus on, we do, as it states in our Constitution, seek to protect every life from the moment of conception through natural death. UB Students for Life is the number-one ethically consistent human rights group on campus. We have meetings on the death penalty, torture, sex slavery, and other human rights issues. Students in the club are committed to providing a voice to the voiceless and leading on many issues, as we know that the protection of all human life is essential to our society.
We have been taunted, our presentations have been desecrated multiple times, the administration has not always been supportive of us, and the student association early on was very obstinate about us becoming a recognized club. We were even prohibited from tabling and participating with other clubs at a "human rights day event" because the host club, which advocates for the "human right" to kill preborn humans, disagreed with us on this one issue that was not even relevant on that day: all the people at the event were writing on behalf of freedom of speech and expression. Sadly and hypocritically enough, UB Students for Life's speech and expression were suppressed. Through it all, our determination for standing up for Life never wavered. There were many times when we could have thrown up our hands and forgotten about our goal, which is to spread the Life message throughout campus, but we did no such thing.
UB Students for Life has three meetings a month to talk about current issues, how to respond to the other side, the history of women leaders and to connect to the very diverse population at the University at Buffalo. We host an annual debate, advertise in school, hold an annual banquet, participate in community service, are very visible within the community, attend the March for Life and the Students for Life of America Annual Conference, and were awarded "New Group of the Year." We were awarded this honor by Students for Life of America, and we had to compete against somewhere around 80 clubs for the award but through action and passion for the preborn we were able to come out on top.
Photo provided by Christian Andzel.
There is something, however, that trumps all of the above. It is about community. The fact that Buffalo, New York is so very pro-life and supports us so whole-heartedly is why we have been so strong. Without the community support, we would not be who we are. We are big believers, as a club, that a club's outside influence only goes as far as people are willing to support and back you through the tough times, and the Western New York area has done that and more. I am confident you will be hard-pressed to find another university pro-life club that is intertwined with the surrounding pro-life community. It is a blessing beyond belief because it allows the students to get in touch with community leaders, community organizers, and people that care about the cause. There is always a home for the community at the university, where their views about Life are being advocated for and cherished. The club also has a safe haven on the outside with people who care about the future and want the next generation's leaders to be pro-life. This is the best symbiotic relationship that could ever exist between UB Students for Life and Western New York.
Lastly, Buffalo, New York was a hotbed for the abolitionist movement in fighting the oppressive system of slavery that prohibited the freedom and right to Life of an entire people during the 19th century. Buffalo was also an area of searing tension in the early 1990s between those who wanted to protect life, and those who advocated for the right to kill the preborn. Those years were called the "Spring of Life." The preborn babies who were born during those years of the battle for freedom and Life in the '90s are now the leaders here at the university fighting the same battle 20 years later and still are fighting the war for freedom for all human beings that should have ended back in 1865. That history continues to be the spirit that drives us forward to accomplishing our goals and being a light in a world that, because of the culture of death, is in the dark.