It’s what I heard and felt and saw as I stared at the empty shoes sitting on the steps of St. John’s this morning. Today is the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the case that legalized abortion in America, and these pairs of empty shoes represent roughly 25% of our peers that lost their lives to that decision.
Twenty-five percent. It doesn’t look like much, especially if you actually count the shoes on display today (which in no way match the real number) but if 57,042,823 lives have been lost since Roe v. Wade in 1973, that translates to a lot of people.
Today alone, at 1:00pm, 1,786 abortions had already been done in the United States.
But these shoes represent more than just big numbers. They are the students Creighton lost to abortion, they are shadows of people who could have been sitting next to us in our classes, who could have roomed with us on campus. They are people who could have been our future spouses, who could have cured cancer or composed the next greatest symphony. They could have been one of our best friends.
Who knows how each one of those 25% could have impacted us and our campus?
Today, I feel and remember their absence, especially in the silence. Creighton spends this week honoring social justice hero Martin Luther King, Jr., as we should. Interestingly, King’s niece, Alveda King, is a prominent Pro-Life activist in the U.S.
Despite this, despite the Catholic church’s strong call to defend life, despite the fact that the March for Life is going on RIGHT NOW in Washington, D.C., where two
of my friends—the only two from Creighton—join the ranks of thousands marching through the snow, Creighton remains silent.
I have heard little to nothing said about what we commemorate and protest today. It makes me wonder, if not for the work of a small group of students—Creighton Students for Life—how and if Creighton would recognize today for what it is: A chance to remember those lost to abortion and an equal chance to stand up for life.
Would our campus, dedicated to being an institution of faith, let this day slip by in silence? Why does it seem that the state schools my friends go to have more support for, and bring larger groups to, the March for Life than Creighton does?
Why are we so silent?
These are hard questions to ask of my beloved Creighton University, but it’s the only way to shatter the silence. And these shoes, my fallen peers, demand answers.
I look at the shoes on display and feel the emptiness they represent. I reflect on how many ways our society has failed them, but I also give thanks for how the Pro-Life movement is evolving and growing. I look to the future in hope that next year, even more people will take a stance for life, particularly on campus.
And as I move forward, I know one thing for certain: I must give feet to those who never had the chance to use theirs. I must be the voice for the empty shoes.
CCSJ Student Coordinator
Class of 2015
The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.