On Jan. 17, Los Angeles will witness its first large-scale celebration of the beauty and dignity of every human life — from conception to natural death.
Dubbed OneLife LA, the family-friendly gathering will take place downtown and hopes are high that the event will happen annually.
The vision for OneLife LA can be credited to Archbishop José Gomez, who sought to institute an annual event for Southern California where people can gather to express their commitment to defending all human life and be inspired to positive action.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is partnering with the dioceses of San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino and Fresno, as the event is intended for all of Southern California and not solely for Los Angeles.
The archdiocese expects thousands to attend this year and hopes that families will represent the majority of those in attendance. OneLife LA welcomes anyone who wishes to celebrate the dignity of life from every faith and every community throughout Southern California.
The event is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at La Placita Olvera. After some opening remarks, including an address from Archbishop Gomez, the assembly will proceed to walk a mile-long route past the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to Grand Park.
At Grand Park, the walkers will gather for a picnic with music, food trucks, balloon artists, face-painting and booths from community organizations, such as St. Vincent de Paul, 40 Days for Life and Oasis.
OneLife LA has scheduled a full lineup of speakers and musicians: Sylvia Aimerito, beloved LA DJ most recently from KEARTH; David Bereit, national director of 40 Days for Life; Rick Smith (also known as “Noah’s Dad”), a Texas pastor who started a popular blog on the joy of parenting his son born with Down Syndrome; Karyme Lozano, “For Greater Glory” actress; Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus; and Ryan Bomberger, co-founder of The Radiance Foundation, a life-affirming organization which addresses social issues through media content.
The event will conclude with a concert featuring Josh Garrels, a singer-songwriter out of Portland, Ore., whose orchestral folk music incorporates Christian themes.
Archbishop Gomez commissioned kathleen-domingo from the Archdiocesan Office of Life, Justice and Peace to oversee OneLife LA.
“This is not a protest or a political rally,” Domingo noted. “We are gathering people to embrace, defend and proclaim the value of every human life. It is a celebration of the wondrous beauty of the life that God has given each one of us.”
In June, Domingo appointed Kevin Kast as project coordinator of the event. Echoing Domingo’s sentiments, Kast emphasized the positive, celebratory aspect of the event.
“We differentiate ourselves by not focusing on the political side of pro-life issues,” he said. “We want to emphasize why human life has dignity, and why it is so beautiful and valuable.”
Both Domingo and Kast stressed that the goal of the event is to inspire action. According to Domingo, OneLife LA is not merely an event, but a catalyst for building a culture of life.
“We want to ensure that this isn’t a one-day event,” Kast said. “We want people to walk away with a clear next step.”
To help convert inspiration into action, OneLife LA’s community partners will be present at booths throughout the park, offering opportunities to volunteer.
“They are not there to hand out literature, to educate, or to fundraise,” Kast said. “They are there to offer tangible service projects to get people involved. This is very much an action-oriented event.”