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On the same day as the L.A. Women's March, a 'celebration of life' gathers in Chinatown

On the same day as the L.A. Women's March, a 'celebration of life' gathers in Chinatown
The youth ministry from the St. Angela Merici Catholic Church in Brea attends the OneLife LA march in Chinatown. (Deborah Netburn / Los Angeles Times)

On the same day that the Women's March drew tens of thousands of people to downtown Los Angeles, José and Teresa Macia of Brea took 10 members of their church's youth ministry downtown for a different reason: to march for life.

It was the third year in a row that the group from the St. Angela Merici Catholic Church had attended OneLife LA, a march and event led by Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez.

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Organizers said thousands of people attended the event, which was billed as a gathering to promote "the beauty of every human life, from conception to death."

"We support life and we peacefully pray to protect every life since its very early existence," José Macia said.

Three nuns are among the crowd at the OneLife LA event held Saturday at Los Angeles State Historic Park.
Three nuns are among the crowd at the OneLife LA event held Saturday at Los Angeles State Historic Park. (Deborah Netburn / Los Angeles Times)

He added that in addition to attending this march, his group regularly prays the rosary outside a Planned Parenthood in Tustin each Tuesday.

"We are just praying, but still a lot of people going by give us obscene gestures," he said.

This year's OneLife LA march started at Olvera Street and proceeded through Chinatown before ending at Los Angeles State Historic Park.

After arriving at the park, marchers sat on picnic blankets and listened to speakers including Karen Gaffney, an advocate for people with physical disadvantages and the first person with Down syndrome to swim the English Channel, and Bishop Charles E. Blake, presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ.

Gomez also addressed the audience, speaking in both English and Spanish.

"OneLife LA is more than just a beautiful day," the Catholic archbishop said. "It is a vision for a pro-life nation, where every life is precious."

Salvador Coronel, 41, a truck driver who grew up in Los Angeles, holds a sign he made at OneLife LA.
Salvador Coronel, 41, a truck driver who grew up in Los Angeles, holds a sign he made at OneLife LA. (Deborah Netburn / Los Angeles Times)

Ray Warriner, a member of the Knights of Columbus who was dressed in a bright green T-shirt that read "volunteer" on the back, said it was just a coincidence that the OneLife march was held on the same day as the Women's March.

"This isn't a protest of anything," he said. "It's a celebration of life in all its forms from birth to death."

He said the date was picked so as not coincide with the larger Walk for Life in San Francisco next weekend.

Members of the Southern California chapter of the Knights of Columbus attend OneLife LA at Los Angeles State Historic Park.
Members of the Southern California chapter of the Knights of Columbus attend OneLife LA at Los Angeles State Historic Park. (Deborah Netburn / Los Angeles Times)

There appeared to be little interaction between people attending the Women's March and those who were participating in the OneLife LA event, but there was some overlap, especially around the Chinatown Metro stop, where extra police were in place.

At around 2:45 p.m., three women, including one carrying a sign that read, "Women fiercely protecting what they love are unstoppable," stopped on the sidewalk just outside Los Angeles State Historic Park.

An onlooker wondered if they were about to start taunting the OneLife crowd, but it turned out that wasn't why the women had come by.

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They didn't even know the event was going on, they said. Instead, they were looking for an art exhibit in the neighborhood.

Twitter: @DeborahNetburn

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