Recently, Pro-Life Wisconsin Director of Communications Sam Guzman sat down to answer some questions with us. If you missed part one, click here to catch up. (You won't regret it; his conversion story is compelling!) Read on as Sam discusses his work and the state of the pro-life movement in Wisconsin.
You started as PLW's communications director about six months ago. How did you get involved with the Pro-Life movement?
Growing up, my family was always strongly pro-life, and we volunteered at Pro-Life Wisconsin from time to time. My mom is in broadcast media, and she was in the thick of the pro-life debate frequently on the radio. Discussing pro-life issues was pretty common at home. I would say that, because of my family, I was always in the pro-life movement to some degree or another. Working with Pro-Life Wisconsin has really ignited that passion in a new way, however, and I love what I do.
With a virtual media blackout on pro-life issues, how is your work as communications director bringing the tragedy of abortion into the public consciousness?
Social media is absolutely key. That’s why I have put it at the forefront of our communications strategy. You really don’t have to go through traditional media channels anymore, and when you use social media, it is people powered. In other words, your message is shared because people believe in it, not just because you paid thousands of dollars for a TV commercial or you got lucky enough to be invited onto a talk show. I prefer it that way. It’s a much more exciting way to communicate.
Regarding what I do every day, I try to create provocative and compelling messages that will generate conversations. Sometimes these are sad, highlighting the horror of abortion. Sometimes, they are positive, demonstrating the beauty of the culture of life. But most of all, they have to be thought provoking. It is working, and we are reaching people far beyond our constituent base because people are talking about us more than ever before.
|This recent image Sam created for PLW's Facebook page went viral quickly.|
What's your favorite accomplishment thus far in your tenure at Pro-Life Wisconsin?
That’s hard to narrow down, but I would say watching our social media presence grow. I’m a big believer in the power of social communication, and our Facebook page and Twitter account have grown significantly since I started. It’s a lot of fun coming up with challenging and inspiring messages to communicate, and then watching them reach tens of thousands each day.
Abortion grabs most of the pro-life headlines. After abortion, what is the greatest threat to human life? What is an emerging threat to human life?
I would say a growing number of doctors failing to respect the human dignity of their patients. We are seeing an increase in medical doctors choosing to hasten death for their patients instead of fighting to sustain their lives. This happens in hospice homes, with patients on life support, and in any number of other scenarios. Whether they are wanting to reduce costs or harvest a crash victims organs, it is a grave evil and a violation of human dignity for a doctor to end a human life. As I said, this is a growing problem and something we intend to raise awareness about.
As far as emerging threats, I would highlight the transhumanism movement. Most pro-lifers don’t even know what transhumanism is, but it is huge danger. In short, it is a movement among medical and technology professionals seeking to advance human evolution by combining human beings with technology. Examples are things like human-animal hybrids and brain implants to enhance our cognitive abilities. There is a Russian billionaire who has pledged to figure out how to download the human consciousness into a computer so we can live forever.
This sounds like science fiction, but it is a very real movement that includes some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world. It is a direct assault on the human person, however, and we must fight it.
With the redefinition of marriage, the looming imposition of the HHS mandate and other cultural challenges, it seems as though there's been a lot of bad news lately for Catholics. What are you seeing within the pro-life movement that might provide cause for optimism?
I see two things that are encouraging. First, there is an openness to new methods. Abortion has been around for 40 years, and that is a tragedy. Many pro-lifers are beginning to look for new and innovative ways to end it once and for all. Because of this, we are seeing some exciting new organizations leading the way on a national level, like Personhood USA and your own 40 Days for Life. These organizations are mobilizing people because they are willing to break out of the traditional methods and try new things.
Second, I believe there is a growing awareness that this is a spiritual battle and not just a political battle. That has always been at the heart of what we do at Pro-Life Wisconsin, but sadly, I think that recognition has faded among some in the pro-life movement. There has been too much reliance on political maneuverings and not enough faith in the power of Jesus Christ. Prayer must be central to our efforts, or God will not bless us and we will never end abortion. Fortunately, I am seeing a growing call to prayer and repentance among the pro-life movement, and this can only bear good fruit.
Do you think our generation will live to see the end of abortion?
Yes. I think the youth are waking up to the humanity and personhood of the unborn child. I think this trend will only continue, and soon, abortion will be unthinkable to the majority of Americans. But there is still a lot of work to do! We can’t be complacent. It will take all of the passion and energy we have to put an end to this evil.
Are there any exciting educational projects on the horizon at PLW that you can share with us?
Absolutely. After 20 years of fighting on the front lines, we have a renewed focus on personhood---the dignity of every human person. That is, and always has been, our core message, and it is going to permeate all of our educational efforts going forward. Video is going to be central---both informal video blogging as well as more high-quality productions. Visual media is incredibly powerful, and we intend to harness it to spread the personhood message.
There are more major changes in the works for us as an organization, but I can’t talk about them just yet! I will say, however, that is in exciting time for Pro-Life Wisconsin. We are dedicated to innovating and using creative methods to communicate a Culture of Life.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Sam. God bless you and your work!