Walk for Life Draws Hundreds
By Lynne Conner, Observer Correspondent
July 6, 2023
ROCKFORD—Volunteers from across northern Illinois determined to continue the fight for pro-life and pro-family issues gathered in Rockford to attend the Rockford Family Initiative’s Walk for Life and Family, June 24. 
The event commemorated the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade and drew hundreds of participants from several area churches who processed through Rockford’s downtown streets with pro-life signs and banners.
Bill Landerholm of Rockford attended the walk and has been a staunch proponent of pro-life issues for several years. “Though we have made some great gains like overturning Roe vs. Wade, there is still much to be done,” he said. “Our state legislature and our governor are firmly pro-abortion. They are against children in the womb and they’re exporting this evil throughout Illinois and the country. It’s their intent to make abortion on demand legal in all 50 states up to the time of birth.”  
“We are a people who gather together in prayer,” said Kevin Rilott, director of the Rockford Family Initiative. “Prayer must be the foundation for all we do. Today’s Walk for Life takes prayer and puts it into action as a witness to say, God loves every person in this community: black, white, Christian, non-Christian, immigrant, everyone. It’s especially important to stand up for preborn children who are the most vulnerable in our society.”
The Rockford Family Initiative, Rilott said, exists not only to promote pro-life and respect life issues but also as a resource for area families. “The Rockford Family Initiative is about helping families to live the abundant life that Jesus wants us to have. There are so many misleading ideologies in our culture today surrounding gender identity that draw people away from authentic sexuality. We want to be that beacon of light and life to share the Good News of Jesus and the Bible with our community.” 
Frances Rylatt, a student at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Academy, attended the walk with her friends and recognizes the urgency of the pro-life movement. “Young people show much enthusiasm for different causes and once they realize why we’re here, what we stand for, and what is at stake, I believe they will join the pro-life movement. It’s astonishing that abortion has made a mother’s womb the most vulnerable place for a child. “
Rilott contends that prayer and Mass are key in providing families with spiritual strength and grace. “The Rockford Family Initiative is here to support families and to advocate for issues impacting family life on a local and national level. We are an outlet of Christian action and are able to get involved in political issues that our churches can’t. Everything we do, however, is rooted in prayer, love, and compassion.”
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