By Jillian Ferguson, Texas Regional Coordinator for Students for Life of America.
From the very first #Sockit2PP Leadership Call, I knew that Carson Macik, the president of Reicher Students for Life in Waco, Texas, was going to do great things with the campaign. He was the first one to ask a question on the call and he suggested a great idea on how to activate the community with pre-packaged sock kits.
I quickly became excited to see the great ideas from the students take form and, let me tell you, they didn’t disappoint.
Planning the Campaign
Almost immediately, Carson texted me and asked if we could arrange a meeting with all of the leaders of the pro-life groups in Waco, which at the time was about five – Reicher Students for Life, Waco Students for Life, Bears for Life, Pro-Life Waco, and Students for Life of America (Waco is where my headquarters are).
I sent out the texts and everyone enthusiastically agreed. We met up at Reicher on a Saturday and I was blown away with how much Carson and the other leaders at Reicher had done – they had speeches and letters already written, a clear action plan, and they had ordered almost 2,000 socks.
Putting the Plan into Action
They contacted churches and requested time at services to make a speech about #sockit2pp and then follow it up with a table in the back where people could buy socks, sign the petition, and donate to the cause. Then the following week they focused on businesses that would allow them to have a table out front to educate people about the realities of Planned Parenthood and sell socks/collect signatures.
Although a lot of churches and businesses were unresponsive, the Students for Life groups persevered.
After a successful weekend of church outreach between the Reicher students, the Bears for Life, and the Waco SFL homeschool group, they shifted their attention away from churches and began focusing on community outreach. In preparation for moving into the community, the students asked me to make calls to determine which permits/permissions we needed to be out in the community.
Even though I thought I followed all of the proper avenues, obtained the proper approval, and knew all of the local ordinances, the response from local law enforcement and security officers was less than ideal.
The students from both Waco SFL and Reicher got kicked out of their spot in front of Magnolia and were told they couldn’t stand on the sidewalk to collect signatures. They then moved to outside the local zoo where security quickly told them they needed to leave.
That’s when I got involved and reminded the students of their rights on public land. After arguing with security for about 15 minutes, they decided the parks would be the best places to do outreach and the students split up and changed locations.
The students also chalked around the community about Planned Parenthood and the #sockit2pp campaign. They created an awesome wood cutout for the campaign, had a table at a local fish fry, and scoured garage sales and second-hand stores for baby socks. They also hosted the Students for Life We Don’t Need Planned Parenthood training so that they would be prepared to answer tough questions.
At the end of the campaign, the students had raised over $1,000. Carson asked me if they should keep the money for future activities or if they should buy more socks. I left the choice up to them and they chose to buy almost 1,200 more pairs of socks making their total a whopping 3,008 socks!
I want to take a minute thank Mr. Steffans, the sponsor of the Reicher Students for Life group, for being so supportive of their efforts. His willingness to consistently open rooms for planning and outreach as well as host trainings made the #sockit2pp campaign a success. Not to mention the fact that he also graciously let 2,000 socks crowd his office for several weeks!
I was so impressed with the leadership of all of the students from Reicher SFL, Waco SFL, and the Bears for Life the entire time – even the face of adversity from the community. The students consistently sent me updates and pictures and were so proactive about their efforts.
Even though they had dedicated so many hours to the campaign, Carson soon texted me saying “I can’t wait to start on a new project!” I am so proud of Reicher Students for Life for winning this trip – they deserve it for all their hard work and efforts to defund Planned Parenthood!