Black Pro-Life Leaders Honored at U.S. Capitol Luncheon
By Kathleen Sweeney, Outreach Department
On June 2, the occasion of First Annual Pro-Life Achievement Luncheon, Black Americans for Life (BAL) honored Kay Coles James, Rev. Dr. Johnny Hunter, and Dr. Mildred Jefferson. BAL is an outreach of the National Right to Life Committee and the luncheon was hosted by Day Gardner, national director of BAL.
The keynote speaker for the event, Claude A. Allen, assistant to President Bush for domestic policy, issued a stern challenge: “We cannot continue to allow our children to be torn from the womb, our women to be hurting, our communities to be torn apart.” He spoke of the dangerous emphasis on expecting perfection in unborn children before allowing them to be born.
Mr. Allen gave tribute to President Bush for his steadfast commitment to the sanctity of human life, listing the pro-life legislation the President has supported, pointing in particular to his opposition to current legislation that would require taxpayers to support embryo-killing research. Citing the President’s support for adult stem cell research, he declared, “Strong science and good ethics can coexist.”
Dr. Alveda King, daughter of slain civil rights activist Rev. A. D. King and niece of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led the gathering in prayer and song, which gave a moving and rousing tone to the event. During the years of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Alveda King’s family home was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama. In recalling this past, she reflected that, “Our home is a protective place, and when it is bombed, we feel violated. It must be like this for the child in the womb when undergoing abortion.”
“Today, [because of legalized abortion] unborn children are treated like slaves in the womb,” Dr. King remarked.
Honoree Kay Coles James, head of the Office of Personnel Management under President George Bush from 2001 to 2005, has served in host of governmental and academic positions and was public affairs director for National Right to Life. During her career she has been a clear and strong voice on pro-life issues. She testified that it is still pro-life concerns that most motivate her.
Rev. Dr. Johnny Hunter, national director of Life Education and Resource Network (LEARN), was honored for his years of pro-life activity.
“Winning is our only option; losing is not an option,” he told the pro-life attendees. Addressing the young men at the luncheon, he said, “You guys are going to see the victory!” Rev. Hunter stressed the importance of the next generation of young Black pro-lifers carrying on the pro-life struggle.
Dr. Mildred Fay Jefferson was honored for her many contributions to the pro-life movement. Dr. Jefferson served three terms as president of the National Right to Life Committee and continues to serve on its board. She was the first Black woman graduate of Harvard Medical School and has been awarded 28 honorary degrees.
Dr. Jefferson reminisced that the history of the pro-life movement has been a story of miracles: anywhere you go in the country you can find a team of pro-lifers who sacrifice their time to help each other and the cause. She commented that the movement has come a long way but still has a long way to go.
“When we win that victory, it will not be for ourselves, but for the children, for our country,” she said.Day Gardner summarized the tribute to the three honorees: “Dr. Mildred Jefferson, Dr. Johnny Hunter and Kay Coles James, all of your hard work, your creativity, sheer stamina, and your efforts to save the lives of millions of children are an inspiration to us all. On behalf of Black Americans for Life, I thank you so much.