While Women’s March unfolds, L.A. Archdiocese holds its own social justice gathering

2018 OneLife LA event
A participant in the 2018 OneLife LA event.
(Deborah Netburn / Los Angeles Times )

As thousands of people gathered downtown for the fourth Women’s March, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles offered its own comment on the matter with a smaller procession that began at the city’s birthplace.

The sixth OneLife LA rally and march started at noon at Olvera Street, with welcoming remarks by Archbishop José H. Gomez. From there, participants were scheduled to walk about a mile up Spring Street to Los Angeles State Historic Park, to a festival that included music, food trucks and array of speeches by advocates who reflected the Roman Catholic Church’s anti-abortion, anti-death penalty teachings.

“`Love is the reason for our lives,” Gomez said in a statement. “And love is the reason we commit ourselves to defending the child in the womb, the poor and the homeless, the prisoner and the sick, the elderly and the disabled, mothers in crisis and young people in need of foster care.”


The keynote is Cyntoia Brown-Long, who was sentenced to life in prison at age 16 in 2004 for killing a man who had solicited her for sex. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslan granted her clemency after a PBS documentary made her case into a cause celebré.

At 5 p.m., OneLife LA was scheduled to conclude with Gomez offering the 25th annual Respect Life Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles.

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez stands for a portrait at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Monday, November 21, 2016 in Los Angeles.
(Patrick T. Fallon / For the Times)

Though not approaching the size of the Women’s March, attendance at the Catholic event is still impressive: last year, faithful from across the Southland participated.

Officially put on by the Archdiocese’s Office of Life, Justice, and Peace, a representative said the fact it’s been held on the same date as the Women’s March for the past three years was a complete coincidence, noting OneLife LA is two years older. Office director and event organizer Kathleen Domingo said the events are similar only so much as the two “are gathering to unite our [respective] communities from diverse backgrounds.”

Without directly commenting on the progressive politics that mostly fuel the Women’s March, Domingo said, “We’re very positive at OneLife. We don’t talk about opposing anything. We show love and mercy to people no matter who they are and what kind of situation they’re in, and focus on the beauty and dignity of every human life.”