The day after their New England counterparts joined hundreds of thousands of Americans in marching for life in Washington, D.C., the students of Thomas Aquinas College, California, made the case for life at the annual Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco.

The College’s students have participated in every Walk for Life since the event’s founding in 2005. This year, at the request of the Walk’s organizers, they once again took on volunteer positions, directing traffic and crowds along the streets of San Francisco. The women of the College also helped to lead the parade, bringing considerable energy and spirit to the effort.

The journey to the Walk for Life 2022 began after the close of classes on Friday, when some 300 California students boarded four coach buses. Despite the seven-and-a-half-hour travel time, students enjoyed themselves as they journeyed with their peers in buses laden with overnight bags. The trip’s leaders led the groups in prayer, song, and activities to pass the time. “The bus ride was a lot of fun!” said James Blewett (’24). “Hanging with friends and being surrounded by energetic people fighting for life is a beautiful thing.”

They arrived late in the night at North Beach’s Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco, where the Salesian fathers graciously offered them places to sleep. The next morning, they attended Mass in St. Mary’s Cathedral, offered by the Most Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, then headed over to the Civic Center Plaza for the Walk.

Clad in their dark-grey sweatshirts, the College’s students prayed, sang, and peacefully called for an end to abortion as they walked 1.8 miles through the streets of San Francisco to Embarcadero Plaza. “My favorite part … was definitely singing and praying the Rosary together,” Amanda Agguire (’24) reflected. “It was an indescribable feeling that brought me so much joy and comfort, reminding me that there is nothing bigger than God.”

“This was the first rally I have ever been to, and it was great seeing just how many people showed up to support the cause,” remarked Thomas Oleson (’23). “They were so enthusiastic that, as a security volunteer, it was hard to keep everyone in line! It was great fun.”

Students also spoke candidly to various media outlets about their commitment to the protection of all human life.

“We walked through the streets holding our signs and making friendly eye contact with the residents,” Maggie LaFond (’24) told the National Catholic Register. “We were telling them we are here because we love women and babies. Not only were we well received, but I’d say it was a life-changing experience.” Added, Sophia Ferri (’23), “There was so much energy and love. We walked through the streets chanting, ‘We are the pro-life generation.’”

When they reached the end of the Walk, students celebrated with joy and enthusiasm. Free to explore the city as they liked, many then found local restaurants, outdoor spots, and notable sights. “One of my favorite memories from the Walk for Life weekend was sitting upstairs in a cafe on the night of the march with a few of my closest friends, drinking tea and Italian sodas, and sharing special moments from the day,” said Annie Powell (’24) “Being able to spend that time with my friends after a day of campaigning for a cause we all believe in was so special.”

The next morning, after Mass, students made their way back to campus on the 375-mile bus ride, worn out from the trip but filled with great memories from bonding and witnessing to their faith and beliefs. “It’s a beautiful thing to use our God-given talents to publicly testify to the faith we believe, and I’d want for everyone to have such an empowering memory and experience,” Amanda Agguire smiled. “I’d strongly encourage students to attend next year, whether it’s their first or fourth time.”