By: Lindsey Frechou, Students for Life of America’s 2012 Missionary for Life
What’s a trip to the Big Apple without any Pro-Life activism work? Answer: Not a cool one! You can have all the Broadway shows and folded slices of pizza you want, but you haven’t seen authentic New York until you take to the streets and hand out flyers with everybody else and their mother’s entire extended family. True story.
Take it from your 2012 SFLA Missionaries! We are now seasoned New Yorker’s (even though we didn’t quite get the hang of the subway system) who know the ins-and-outs of Pro-Life activism in a big city. We spent a few hours passing out I Vote Pro Life First flyers that explained President Obama’s voting record and the importance of keeping life sacred in the heart of New York. I think I can speak on behalf of everyone and say that it was pretty darn cool.
Think about NYC and what comes to your mind? After bright lights, Home Alone and hotdogs, I know I thought about the articles I’ve read with headlines such as: “New York: Abortion Capital of the World” or “39 Percent of NYC Pregnancies end in Abortion”. Yikes. And we’re going to pass out “I Vote Pro-Life” first flyers with Obama on one side and a slightly graphic image on the other? You must think we’re insane in the membrane. But after a deep breath, some show tunes from Mary Poppins and a quick prayer… we. were. ready. And you know what? It went really well.
We had some positive feedback and some really negative feedback, but wasn’t that our goal? As activists, we want to get people’s noggin’s working and make them truly reflect on the topic at hand. Our goal for the day was to spread as many of our flyers as possible around New York City. Our goal was to show people Obama’s voting record and how he supported the killing of innocent babies who survived a partial-birth abortion. Our goal was to shock them and show that President Obama is not all that he’s cracked up to be. And we rocked. We left them in Subways, handed them to people eating at McDonald’s and flooded the sidewalks of New York.
One of my personal favorite moments was when I tried to hand a flyer to a man; he already had one…and was reading it! Activism is a great and easy way to stand for life. All you need is a few hundred flyers, a populated area and a few smiling friends. I’m serious. You don’t even have to be a part of a group or get a permit. Literally just print off flyers (we’ll even give you the design!) and hand them out to anyone and everyone! Here are some tips:
– At first, it can be intimidating. But believe me, if we can do it, you definitely can! You’re a Pro-Life super star! Take it from Leslie, who was a little weary at first, but then put on her baby saving face and kicked some NYC butt! “New York City was an entirely new place for me. At first I was worried about inconveniencing strangers by handing them something. I learned that this does not need to be a hesitation. We were simply handing them a sheet of paper, and if they wanted to refuse it they could. Not even 2 seconds were taken out of their day. I stepped out of my comfort zone with the motivation of informing people on Obama’s disrespect for life. I had to keep my eye on the goal, which is to save lives and change hearts for the upcoming election.”
– Go in small groups. For example, we had 5 missionaries so we did a group of 2 and a group of 3. If you’re brave enough to go by yourself, more power to you! But for safety reasons and because we value your life (we’re Pro-Life, duh!), please bring a personal body guard. Big groups don’t work either, because the area gets too cluttered and the citizens are not as receptive (believe us, we tried and failed).
– Check the weather. Oops.
– And last but certainly not least…Smile. It’s as simple as that. I tried many different approaches from hardly looking at the person to asking them how their day was going (maybe that would work in N’Awlins but certainly not in New York) and the best tactic was ALWAYS a nice smile and, “Here you go sir/ma’am”. Also, hold it out so they can easily grab it. This might even mean weaving all over the sidewalk so you can place it in their most convenient hand. But it’s so worth it. The feeling of successfully handing out a flyer is close to the satisfactory feeling of the perfect high five with your best bud. And imagine that hundreds of times over and over again. Bam.
Here are some people you can expect:
-The “avoid eye contact and look at the ground at all times until I pass the crazy flyer girl even if it means running into another person on the sidewalk” people. They are always funny.
– The “I’m not taking that flyer I hate Obama” people. Seriously. One woman yelled at me that she wouldn’t touch anything with that (insert expletive here) face on it. After I explained to her that it was not a campaign flyer but information on his oh, so terrible voting record I thought she was about to hug me. Poor woman, she’s got to get out of that city for a little retreat.
– Then we have the “Oh my gosh I love Obama… (begins reading about Obama and abortion) oh, wait….” people. One couple took a flyer and was so happy to have a picture with the “man they love” on it. I walked away as fast as I could but they caught up. Poor Chris was in the line of fire and they handed it back to him and suggested he should stick it up..um, well… where the sun just don’t shine. So pleasant.
– And finally we have every activist’s favorite. The “wow, y’all are great and I love you so much, here’s my card. I’d love to possibly be a donor or help support you” people. No dude, you’re great. Thanks for valuing life and giving our rainy day a little sunshine. It’s these people who give us hope for America. Isn’t activism the best?!
So go on! Get out there! Do your crazy, cool Pro-Life activism thing. And feel free to share your stories with us; we’d love to hear them. Good luck!