Archdiocese Local

Amendment campaign ramps up training and education efforts

Bishop Miege High School students Allison Quinn, Maria Nguyen and Bella Barraza bundle yard signs during the “Value Them Both” amendment training event held March 5 at the amendment coalition’s field office in Overland Park. The training is one of many that will take place over the upcoming months as the coalition mobilizes volunteers to aid in the amendment’s passage. The amendment will be on the ballot in August. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MARC ANDERSON

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.”

Bishop Miege High School student Allison Quinn holds a “Value Them Both” sign during an amendment training event held March 5 at the amendment coalition’s field office in Overland Park. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MARC ANDERSON

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.

Individuals and families attended the “Value Them Both” amendment training event at the amendment coalition’s field office in Overland Park. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MARC ANDERSON

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.

Nancy Weber prepares to go door-to-door to inform Kansans about the “Value Them Both” amendment. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MARC ANDERSON

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:

About the author

Marc & Julie Anderson

Freelancers Marc and Julie Anderson are long-time contributors to the Leaven. Married in 1996, for several years the high school sweethearts edited The Crown, the former newspaper of Christ the King Parish in Topeka which Julie has attended since its founding in 1977. In 2000, the Leaven offered the couple their first assignment. Since then, the Andersons’ work has also been featured in a variety of other Catholic and prolife media outlets. The couple has received numerous journalism awards from the Knights of Columbus, National Right to Life and the Catholic Press Association including three for their work on “Think It’s Not Happening Near You? Think Again,” a piece about human trafficking. A lifelong Catholic, Julie graduated from Most Pure Heart of Mary Grade School and Hayden Catholic High School in Topeka. Marc was received into the Catholic Church in 1993 at St. Paul Parish – Newman Center at Wichita State University. The two hold degrees from Washburn University in Topeka. Their only son, William James, was stillborn in 1997.


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