When Rock for Life was finally accepted to be an exhibitor on Vans Warped Tour we knew that we would be stepping outside of the pro-life “safe zone” and into an environment where our presence would not be welcomed. When I say pro-life safe zone I’m referring to places like Christian music festivals or other typically faith based events where the pro-life message is usually accepted with open arms. For us, Vans Warped tour was a new opportunity to reach young people with the pro-life message as well as begin educating people about fetal development and the fact that a child is whole and has rights, or should have rights starting at conception. We really wanted to put ourselves in a position to get in touch with people who we may not see at the other events we work and continue to increase our nationwide network of pro-lifers.
Our first ten days at warped tour we were excited to find that we were well received and even had many people voting that life begins at conception. We were having positive interactions and got many opportunities to have constructive conversations and guide people closer to a pro-life stance. Vans Warped Tour hit Florida and we continued to have generally positive interactions at the events themselves but online it has been another story. We began to see hateful tweets directed at us, our team members, Vans Warped Tour, and Kevin Lyman, the tour owner. Things like:
so how long until someone destroys the pro-life tent at Warped?
— Alora ❁ (@cthjauregui) June 30, 2016
1 like and ill steal the ipad at the rock for life tent at warped
— sarah (@saraheckstine) July 11, 2016
YALL BETTER BE GLAD AF I DIDNT GO OVER TO THE PRO LIFE TENT AT WARPED
— makenna!!! (@yourlocalemo) July 11, 2016
To see more of what people are saying on twitter click here and here. Once we saw these tweets we got in touch with the Vans Warped Tours management and security. We have their full support and will get security if the need ever arises. The festival owner Kevin Lyman even tweeted, “Punk rock was about welcoming all points of view, you can make your own decisions, and opposing platforms and views are important” in response to outraged tweets about our presence that he was tagged in. Vans Warped Tour has been great to us especially with all of the flack that is being dispersed right now, we are extremely thankful for their attention to our needs and safety. In an article by Stef Lach for teamrock.com Lynamin said, “There over 100 non-profits tabling at some point of the tour this summer. This is one of them. If they are being respectful and not promoting hatred, racism, or bigotry then I think they should be allowed.”
With all of this hate dominating our twitter page, we need your help. We need you and any pro-lifers you know to help us combat the hate online, and at our Warped Tour dates. If you are interested volunteering at an event get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Then if you and your friends would tweet, “@kevinlynamin thanks for allowing @rockforlife on @vanswarpedtour,” that would be fantastic! Lastly we would love to see more people using our tags #rflsummer16, #ibelieve, and #prolifebecause. If you have one of our shirts or want to share with us a positive message about why you are pro-life we would love to get a tweet from you.
We need to act as a unified community of human rights activists to fight hate like this and not let the voices of some angry concert attendees and bands detract from the fact that every Vans Warped Tour date has had more people voting that human rights begin in the first trimester or conception than at any other stage of development. With time, education, effort and a friendly face we can move more of those votes from the 2nd & 3rd trimesters to conception! We are the pro-life generation and we do have the power to influence culture and end the loss of life.