The Students for Life Club and Pax Christi recently joined forces to work to save the life of one man.
Pax Christi and Students for Life together sent six people to a rally at Kiener Plaza last Saturday in support of Reggie Clemons, an inmate on death row. Clemons was sentenced to death for his involvement in the 1991 rape and murder of two young women on the Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis.
Jurors convicted Clemons despite what some viewed as a lack of physical evidence and charges of prosecutorial misconduct and police coercion. Clemons, who was sentenced to die in 2009, has appealed his conviction. This week he is appearing before a special judge appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court to review the evidence and hear testimony about prosecutor misconduct, racial bias (Clemons is black), and police brutality. Clemons has consistently maintained his innocence. Around 100 people attended the rally to show their support for Clemons. The rally included a number of speakers and a lot of music.
“The rally was more like a concert than anything else,” said junior Pax Christi member Gabe Miller, who attended the rally.
Members of Pax Christi and Students for Life attended the rally because both groups oppose the death penalty.
“This is the first thing we have really done as a communal effort this year, but hopefully, we will be able to do more things in the future. Since we have two groups, we could get more done,” said Students for Life president senior Joel Ocampo.
Although Pax Christi and Students for Life have similar views on some issues, the two groups have different focuses.
“We are separate groups with separate interests, although sometimes we do overlap,” said Students for Life moderator and Pax Christi member Dave Callon. Theology teacher Rob Garavaglia moderates Pax Christi.
Callon explained that Students for Life is focused on the life umbrella and protecting life from conception to natural death. The group tries to prevent threats to human life in many forms. Pax Christi also defends the dignity of human life, but it focuses on things such as world peace and nonviolence. Both groups derive inspiration from leaders such as Mohandis Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who advocated peaceful resistance.
Students for Life and Pax Christi try not to have a political allegiance but try to protect life and carry out God’s mission.
“We are trying to live out the Jesuit way and we don’t make distinction between liberal and conservative. We are trying to live out a Christian vision for the world,” said Callon.
The Students for Life Club hosted the Mass for Life last year and hopes to be able to coordinate another Mass with Pax Christi under the new title of “The Mass for Life and Justice.”