Seven years ago, Archbishop José Gomez had a vision for a different kind of pro-life event in Los Angeles. He saw the need for a new approach that would unite young people, families and people from every cultural background to celebrate the dignity of every human life from conception to one’s very last breath. This year, OneLife LA returns in person on Jan. 22 with the theme Forward in Hope!

OneLife LA shines a spotlight on the dignity of every human person. So many people don’t understand that they have dignity, that they have been created for a reason. How difficult is it, then, to recognize and respond to the dignity in another person? Especially when that person is a preborn child, a homeless person, a person with extreme disability,
a person who is incarcerated?

OneLife LA illustrates, through stories, witness, song and service the beauty and dignity of every human life! Each OneLife LA speaker shares a transformation, a recognition of his or her own dignity through the mercy of another. And all have used that awakening to bring the message of hope to the world.

Over the last seven years, we have met:
Jose Arellano grew up in the gang culture of Los Angeles. After years in and out of incarceration, a conversion led him to a new life. He was shown mercy and now helps people answer the question “why do you care about me?”

Immaculée Ilibagiza lost her entire family to genocide and hid while soldiers hunted for her for three months. She learned to forgive and now teaches others to recognize human dignity, even in those who are most difficult to love.

Lizzie Velasquez, born with a rare physical disorder, was once voted the world’s ugliest woman. She turned this situation around, shining the light of her joyful life to let everyone know that they are wonderfully made, no matter what they may see in the mirror.

JJ Hanson, a former Marine, lived with an aggressive and deadly brain tumor. He used his last months to speak against physician assisted suicide and help others see the beauty of their last moments, however difficult.

Karen Gaffney is a long-distance swimmer who crossed the English Channel, and she happens to have Down syndrome. Her life illustrates God’s gifts to all people, differently shared but equally loved.

OneLife LA 2022 is back in-person on Saturday, Jan. 22, beginning at 12 noon in downtown LA. Register at http://onelifela.org/

This year is especially significant. With the Supreme Court set to rule on Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health as early as June, Roe v Wade could be overturned, returning abortion policy to each state. Were Roe to be overturned, CA abortion laws would not change.

Instead, our focus in California should be to continue building a caring community that responds to the dignity of each person with love and mercy. This is the long view. It is not a quick fix. It requires commitment and a willingness to put ourselves in the place of another.

With the inspiring witness of our OneLife speakers, over the last seven years, OneLife LA has challenged thousands of people to perform works of mercy for their neighbors. We are transforming our communities and showing people their own dignity so they might see the dignity in others. Showing them that they are loved so they can respond in love to those around them. This is the transformative message of the Gospel. This is the foundation of the pro-life movement.

The message of OneLife LA is more important now than ever! I hope to see you at OneLife LA on Jan. 22, 2022! Together, let us go forward in hope!