Thousands are expected to participate in a celebration of life Saturday that will be led by Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez.
The event, known as OneLife LA, kicked off at noon in the 800 block of North Alameda Street, and will be followed with Gomez leading a Walk for Life through the streets of downtown to Grand Park. Bishop Charles Blake of the West Los Angeles Church and Bishop Gerald Barnes of the Diocese of San Bernardino were among the guests scheduled to speak.
Nick Vujicic, who founded the nonprofit group Life Without Limbs when he was 14 years old, and retired Los Angeles Unified schoolteacher Millicent "Mama" Hill, who founded a program out of her home to help keep the children of Watts off the streets, were also scheduled to speak.
The daylong event, which will include musical performances from pop star Alexander Acha and Grammy nominee Trio Ellas, will celebrate "the beauty and dignity of every human life" and conclude with a "Respect for Life" Mass and a candlelight vigil, organizers said. OneLife LA and the Mass mark the 43rd anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
"This will be a day of family and friendship in celebration of the beauty and dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death," Gomez said. "Join me and thousands in declaring a commitment to valuing and protecting all human life, particularly the most vulnerable in our society."
Saturday's event will run until 5 p.m., organizers said. Los Angeles Street will be closed from Alameda Avenue to Arcadia Street, and Spring Street and Broadway will be closed between First and Temple Streets.