by Marc and Julie Anderson
OVERLAND PARK — As a senior at Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park, Bella Barraza has never volunteered her time on a campaign of any kind.
Yet, she was among some 100 people of various ages who on March 5 showed up at the “Value Them Both” coalition offices in Overland Park to receive volunteer training as Kansans mobilize to encourage the passage of the “Value Them Both” amendment. The amendment will be on the ballot in August.
According to its website, the coalition is “made up of Kansas citizens and groups who believe every human life has value” and is “committed to advocating across our state for the passage of the ‘Value Them Both’ amendment to ensure that Kansas can stop unlimited abortion from coming to our state and can continue to pass laws that put the health and safety of mothers and babies before the abortion industry.”
Led by Kansas Family Voice (formerly Family Policy Alliance of Kansas), Kansans for Life and the Kansas Catholic Conference, the coalition “welcomes the support of all individuals and organizations who hold this goal.”
The full day’s training ran from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and included presentations about the amendment itself, phone bank training and door-knocking training. The day’s activities also included opportunities for students such as Barraza to engage in volunteer service by doing behind-the-scenes tasks like bundling yard signs.
For Barraza, a member of St. Joseph Parish in Shawnee, the day afforded a chance to spend time on something she is very passionate about — the right to life.
“I love babies,” she said, adding she grew up in a household that has always promoted the human dignity of each human life.
Part of her strong beliefs stem from the fact that she has a little brother who is 7, exactly 10 years younger than she is.
“I couldn’t imagine if he weren’t around,” she said.
Sitting across from Barraza was one of her high school theology teachers, Nancy Weber. Like Barraza, she had never volunteered for a campaign of any sort, let alone knocked on doors.
Yet, there she was, receiving instructions on using an app to access her walk list of targeted voters in a nearby neighborhood.
A few minutes later, she got in her van and drove a few blocks away to park. After getting out of van, she walked the streets, ringing doorbells, knocking on doors and engaging in conversation with others about the amendment itself. She also left literature with individuals and/or on front doors.
Like Barraza, Weber said she feels strongly about the need for the amendment.
As a theology teacher, she discusses Catholic social justice teaching with her students on a daily basis. Out of all the social justice teachings, though, Weber said respect for life trumps all others.
“Respecting life impacts all other teachings because without life, nothing else matters,” she said.
“It’s so logical. Why wouldn’t everyone be voting for it?” she added.
For more information about the “Value Them Both” amendment and ways to get involved, go to the website at: www.valuethemboth.com.