Dear Pro-Life Friend,
We are so glad that you are interested in learning about becoming a chapter leader with Unite for Life – Houston! We hope that the information that we have to share with you will be useful to you as you pursue the vocation of work in the pro-life movement. We hope that the resources and support we provide will complement the amazing pro-life work already being done in Houston.
In order for you to understand this effort, it is important that we share with you the history of Unite for Life – Houston.
Unite for Life – Houston was born in the summer of 2010 when several pro-life groups in Houston banded together to organize a joint event. The event was held on October 23, 2010. It was a single-day event with a mission (1) to mobilize Houstonians for life by connecting them with resources that support life-affirming choices (2) to represent a unified voice of prayer against abortion and (3) to encourage pro-life Houstonians to vote for pro-life political candidates. Specifically our goal was to motivate attendees to stand up for life and take an active role in the fight to end abortion. The event was held at the Catholic Charismatic Center with keynote speaker Eduardo Verastegui, star of the movie Bella and international pro-life leader. Also at the event were booths of about 30 pro-life groups so that attendees could learn how to become active in the pro-life movement. Our target attendees were those who already considered themselves pro-life but were not yet actively engaged. We aimed to attract those who were already looking for a way to make a difference and those who needed a little push and motivation to get involved.
The event was a success, with about 1,500 in attendance. And we learned a lot from organizing the event. One of the most important lessons was that we need to do a lot more “in the trenches” grassroots work to get people engaged. That’s where you come in!
We found that it takes more than a single-day event to get people to commit to working in this movement. We needed to provide a more constant support and more extensive resources to those with a passion to begin this work. And, we believe, it will be more effective if pro-lifers organize together in the communities from which they come – whether that is a neighborhood community, a church community, or an ethnic community. In this way, the pro-life movement is learning from the political community organizers, and from the success of the pro-choice movement. We have gained insight from Abby Johnson, former director of the Bryan Planned Parenthood, and from Karen and Erich Wolz, a Houston couple who worked in the recent political campaigns.
With these lessons under our belt, the Unite for Life – Houston team developed a simple curriculum that any pro-lifer can follow to begin a chapter in their community. We have also created an extensive resource directory broken down into areas of interest. The purpose of the curriculum is to take the pressure off of the leader of a pro-life group by having everything already set out for them. The curriculum provides a solid foundation for understanding the many facets of the complicated problem of abortion in America. It also provides information about the many efforts underway to address the underlying problems and suggestions for ways to make a tangible contribution to the movement. We hope that it provides a good mix of information, resources, and easy suggestions for activism.
As an additional resource, we plan to have monthly meetings for the chapter leaders. This will give us a venue to come together, share suggestions and challenges, and for the chapter leaders to ask us for help with anything they need. The Unite for Life – Houston chapter team will attend the meetings to be a resource for you. And if we don’t know the answer to one of your questions, we will probably know who we can ask to get an answer for you.
As your chapter finishes the general curriculum, we suggest that you pick a focus that truly captures the passion of your individual group members. We have developed several focus tracks from which you can choose, and suggestions for ways to contribute to the movement through each. This allows your chapter to naturally mature into a group with its own niche within the pro-life movement and fill any void that may exist in our battle against abortion.
The curriculum and the focus options are merely suggestions. They are intended to simplify the process of organizing a pro-life group. Of course, as a chapter leader, you may decide that certain parts of the curriculum are not of interest to your particular group, and you may decide to skip certain parts. That is perfectly alright! You may also find an area of focus that we didn’t imagine. That would be great, too! The resources we created are meant to be just that, a resource. Also, if you feel that the monthly meetings for the leaders are not helpful to you, you are not obliged to attend. They are meant to provide support, not to add a burden to your schedule.
We will be keeping in touch with the chapter leaders through e-mail, facebook, and our website. Our website will soon be updated with more resources for you and we will be adding a Houston pro-life calendar, so that you will know all of the pro-life events that are occurring. We will also be working diligently to keep our facebook page active with current news. In addition, it is our goal to send you e-mails regularly (perhaps weekly?) so that if you don’t use facebook you won’t miss out on anything.
We are excited to share with you the resources we have created and we pray that God will use us as His instruments for this vital work. Thank you so much for taking the time to consider becoming a chapter leader with Unite for Life – Houston. May God bless you abundantly.
Your Unite for Life – Houston Chapter Leader Team
Erich and Karen Wolz
Hector and Martha Garcia
Michael and Mary Catharine Maxian