THOUSANDS UNITE TO ‘CHOOSE LOVE’ AT ONELIFE LA CELEBRATING OF THE BEAUTY AND DIGNITY OF EVERY HUMAN LIFE
Thousands made their way on Saturday, January 21, to Exposition Park to join Archbishop José H. Gomez, and a roster of local, national and international heroes, and celebrities for the third annual OneLife LA. OneLife LA is a large-scale event uniting people of all backgrounds throughout Southern California to celebrate the beauty and dignity of every human life from conception to natural death.
“From the beginning, we intended OneLife LA to be more than a one-day event once a year. ‘OneLife’ is meant to be a movement, it is my dream for Los Angeles and really for our country and our continent,” said Archbishop Gomez. “OneLife is a vision of a society of solidarity, love and service. A vision of a society where we do not see ‘others,’ but see only brothers and sisters — children of God who share our common human nature and are deserving of love and care, and everything we can do to promote their freedom and dignity.”
This year OneLife LA took on its biggest challenge by aiming to set the world record for the largest heart formation, inspired by this year’s theme, “Choose Love.” Formation participant numbers will be made available following the event.
Keynote speaker was Immaculée Ilibagiza, a survivor of genocide in her native Rwanda. She survived in hiding, emerging after months to find her family murdered along with many friends and neighbors. She embodies the power of prayer and forgiveness, as eventually she forgave the murderers of her family.
International actress and pro-life activist Karyme Lozano and performer, author and speaker Chris Stefanick were the emcees, who encouraged attendees to get involved in charity projects, some of which were available on site.
“OneLife LA is not just a one-day celebration. It is a movement, a catalyst for doing good in our community every day of the year to show, through our actions, that we value the life of every person we see and vow to help those in greatest need,” said Kathleen Buckley Domingo, associate director for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Office of Life, Justice and Peace, organizers of the event.
OneLife LA speakers and presenters included:
- Emmy award winning actress Patricia Heaton, who is a tireless advocate for life. She currently stars as Frankie Heck in the ABC sitcom, The Middle. Her brilliant career includes starring roles in film, television, and stage.
- CEO of Jenni Rivera Enterprises, Rosie Rivera is the youngest of a family of singers. In 2015, Rosie founded the movement Sister Samalia to restore and uplift women whom have been victims of sexual abuse, human trafficking, drugs and domestic violence in Latin America.
- Death row exoneree Kirk Bloodsworth is the first person in the United States to be exonerated from death row by DNA testing. Sentenced to death for murder in 1985, Kirk lobbied successfully in 1992 for “DNA fingerprinting” to be used on evidence collected at the crime scene. Kirk now works with Witness to Innocence, an organization that empowers death-row exonerees to speak up for an end to the death penalty.
Performers included Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and musician, Jamie Grace; Chris Duffley, who was born blind and lives with autism; the Southern California salsa band Conjunto Nacional entertained participants for the second year; and for the first time the 100-person West Angeles Choir.
“I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome when I was 11 years old and spent a few years in and out of the hospital. With the struggles I faced in my childhood, the main constant was God’s love and joy. In hopes of encouraging others, I love sharing songs about love, hope and joy which makes me very excited about my performance at OneLife LA,” said Jamie Grace.
Presiding Bishop for the Church of God in Christ, Bishop Charles E. Blake and Reverend Eugene F. Rivers III, pastor of the Azusa Christian Community Center in Dorchester of Boston, provided remarks.
OneLife LA partners with local community service and outreach organizations to inspire positive action among participants. These organizations provide life-affirming support to pregnant women, assist the homeless, trafficking survivors, the elderly, the disabled and the dying, and help foster children find adoptive families. Partners this year include 40 Days for Life, Olivecrest, the American Red Cross, The Dream Center, App for Life, Family Promise, Obria Medical Clinics, Merciful Companions, A21, Covenant House, Saving Innocence.
OneLife LA, spearheaded by the Archdiocese’s Office of Life, Justice and Peace, was first celebrated on January 17, 2015. The event united about 15,000 people to “Be Somebody to Somebody” in their own communities through good works. OneLife LA 2016 drew nearly 20,000 to downtown Los Angeles in celebration of the beauty and dignity of every human life. For the 2016 event recap and highlights, please visit http://onelifela.org/highlights/ and for 2015 event highlights, visit http://onelifela.org/2015event/.
Visit www.onelifela.org for more information, keep up with latest OneLife LA updates on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, and follow #OneLifeLA and #ChooseLove.
NOTE: EVENT PHOTOS ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST