Nellie Gray, the founder of March for Life, passed away this past weekend. Through tireless dedication to the pro-life movement, Ms. Gray united pro-life people from all walks of life through the march she founded in 1974, which marked the one year anniversary of Roe v. Wade. She started the march so pro-life people across America could come together and mourn the lost lives of Americas most defenseless and innocent populationthe preborn.

Ms. Grays heartfelt motivation to protect Americas preborn children stemmed from her military service in World War II. During the war, Ms. Gray served as a corporal in the Womens Army Corps (WAC), and was deeply distraught that many innocent lives were lost in the Holocaust. Once the war ended, Ms. Gray became more aware of the perils of abortion and was propelled to combat Americas very own holocaust--the unjust, merciless killing of innocent preborn boys and girls.

Pro-life unity formed the core of Ms. Grays motivation for protecting the preborn. To accomplish such a goal, Ms. Gray encouraged African-Americans and women from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign to participate in the March for Life. Dr. Alveda King, the director for Priests for Lifes African-American Outreach, said that Nellie Gray knew that abortion took a heavy toll from the black community and she urged us to lend our voices to the fight against this terrible injustice. Also, Janet Morana, the co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, thanked Ms. Gray for recogniz[ing] that the women who have had abortions speak with unquestioned authority about the ways they have been harmed by this choice.

Because of Ms. Grays work, March for Life has truly changed lives by motivating Americans to take a stand for the protection of Americas most defenseless population. Father Frank Pavone, the National Director for Priests for Life, noted that Nellie Gray and the March for Life had a most profound effect on my life simply because both solidified his decision to seek priesthood. Moreover, March for Life, which has a high youth turnout rate, has propelled my generation to continue defending the preborns God-given right to life.

As the 39th annual March for Life approaches, we must never forget to champion and honor Nellie Grays humanitarian impact on the hearts and minds of millions of Americans. To further her legacy, we must continue to unite more Americans on the sanctity of life.

In the wake of Nellie's passing, the March for Life Board of Directors have named Patrick Kelly as Interim Chair of the Board and Jeanne Monahan as Interim President of the Board. The Board of Directors will continue to honor Nellie's memory by doing everything possible to protect the unborn--no exceptions, no compromise!