the Youth Rally - Introduction
Pro-Life activist and attorney, Joe Meissner, founded the Youth Rally for Life in 1981. The Youth Rally is an annual event, held in Cleveland, Ohio at Public Square on or near January 22 - the anniversary of the tragic Roe v. Wade decision.
Every year, the Youth Rally attracts a dozen or more young pro-life speakers from area high schools and colleges. Hundreds of students (and some adults) also brave the cold, outdoor January weather to hear this noontime cheering for life.
Youth Rally for Life offers an opportunity for young people to exercise their American right of free speech and speak out against abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia and other pro-life social justice issues.
Youth Rally for Life is a once a year event, not an organization. It is totally volunteer organized and supported. Cleveland Right To Life sponsors this event (in other words, they pay for the rental of the PA system). Rally volunteers donate their time, money and hard work to hold this event every year.
Every year, young people in attendance at the Rally show their enthusiasm for life and give generously to support pro-life pregnancy help centers. 100% of those donations go to help women in need. Frequently, those contributions are matched by Cleveland area pro-life organizations.
Youth Rally for Life is a 100% volunteer group. Attorney Joe Meissner, who founded the Youth Rally for Life, advises and guides the theme of the Rally. As the wrap up speaker every year, he challenges people in attendance to follow-through on their support for life. Volunteer Virginia Hanley works endlessly every year to contact the schools, coordinate the speakers, select the youth moderator and send out press releases to the local media. I (Rob Nettgen) set up the PA system and record the rally on audiotape. As of December, 2002 I am the Webmaster for this new web site, www.RallyForLife.org.
If you want to volunteer and help Youth Rally for Life or to contact any of us, send e-mail to webmaster@RallyForLife.org.
If you want to support this event please give to LifeWorks Ohio and mention Youth Rally for Life in your gift.
In 1981 the idea was conceived that there should be a special youth rally on January 22 to give young people the chance to speak out publicly on pro-life social justice issues. The first rally of its kind was held on January 22, 1982 on Cleveland Public Square and was billed appropriately, the Youth Rally for Life.
The rally has been held every year since that time and has attracted speakers from all over the Greater Cleveland Area: from high schools, colleges and even grade schools.
The rally is always held on a school day, which necessitates that the student get time off from school. Although this is a sacrifice, it is well worth the effort because no classroom education can replace a real-life experience. Every January 22, young people have made history at the Square by being part of a public demonstration concerning the great moral issue of all time - the sacredness of all human life.
Young people have spoken on abortion, euthanasia, the handicapped, poverty, nuclear disarmament and crisis pregnancy centers, covering many different aspects of these subjects.
Their number has grown steadily over the past years from a small group in 1982 to hundreds. Every January 22, young people come to Public Square to speak and to listen and to give witness to the fact that youth - and a youthful spirit - can overcome the pro-death mentality.
The Rally has not only attracted a large audience at the Square but it has also attracted the attention of the media, thereby fulfilling its mission of education.
Taking up a collection to aid pro-life crisis pregnancy centers in the Cleveland area has been a standard event at every Youth Rally for Life event. In addition, the young people challenge lawyers for life, the Right to Life Educational Fund and Cleveland Right to Life each year to match funds collected.
Another custom of the rally has been to wear blue, pink and black ribbons tied around the arm to symbolize that abortion brings early death to unborn children.
The Youth Rally for Life Coordinating Committee has committed itself to continue providing the unique speaking opportunity for students of the future for as long as the need exists.
A Youth Rally for Life shall be held every year on Cleveland Public Square on January 22 (or the Friday preceding January 22).
The Youth Rally for Life shall be non-sectarian. The philosophy of the Youth Rally Fro Life shall be that life is a continuum from conception until natural death and must be protected, enhanced and loved by every member of the human community.
The sole activity of the Youth Rally for Life shall be the rally itself and the sole purpose is education.
The speaker must be under 26 years of age. The presentation must be under five minutes long and must reflect the fact that life is a continuum from conception until natural death and must be protected, enhanced and loved by every member of the human community.
Those interested in speaking in the Youth Rally for Life at Cleveland Public Square can apply on-line via e-mail. Speakers under the age of eighteen will need written parental permission to speak at the Square and written notice to their school that they will be taking time off.
Speaking at the Youth Rally for Life provides an excellent educational opportunity for students because it is a real-life experience. The audience is live and the media is sometimes there. The student draws satisfaction from a job well done and has an increase of confidence building self-esteem. The students who come to support and listen to the talks also draw benefit from being a part of a spirited pro-life event. They see that the pro-life spirit is alive and well and shared by many. Even students who have erroneously opted for a "Pro-choice" stance are forced to take a second look and reconsider.
"I am very grateful to all adults who recognize the power of young people to make a difference."
Kimberly Concol, Youth Rally for Life speaker.
"Congratulations on another fine program. I always feel
renewed in spirit. These young people were not even born when the Noon Memorial
began so many years ago."
Joseph Meissner, Founder of the Youth Rally for Life.
"With the help of young people such as you, we can continue
to reach out to women in crisis."
"We are blessed by your commitment to the cause of life
for the unborn."
Crisis Pregnancy Center
Pro-life\pro-life\ adj. 1: holding to a firm conviction that human life is a continuum from conception until natural death. 2: the certainty that "human life in its essence, in every aspect and every age, must be protected, enhanced and loved by every member of the human community."
Definition of Purpose, March 4, 1973, National Pro-Life Coalition