Watch a photo slide show of Betty in action:
Remembering Betty Schroeder, 1931-2009
Betty Schroeder was a person I loved very much, yet I would take in a deep breath, look skyward and shake my head at the mention of her name. She was a full-throttle peace activist, obsessed with our collective situation, who could be a profound pain in the neck, even among friends.
Betty felt entirely justified in demanding that we stop whatever we were doing and help her to address with immediate action a particular offense, committed by a particular person or institution, against humankind, the planet, animals and/or anything in between. She hated injustice.
Betty, born in
She never had time to talk much about herself; I only recently learned that her late husband, an electrical engineer, worked on the atomic bomb at
Betty cared for mothers who had given birth to deformed infants at
She was arrested in 1987 at
Betty moved to
Betty was one of the five Tucson Raging Grannies who, on July 15, 2005, tried to enlist in the U.S. Army at the recruiting office on
She advised us, on one cloudy morning on the edge of our town, to "just keep walking, no matter what they say." She and friend Pat Birnie helped us into white jackets with U.N. armbands and hard hats adjusted to fit our heads. On Feb. 13, 2003, we were protesting the pending illegal invasion of
Betty led, joined or supported all of us in every effort—sign-making, writing, singing, painting, any nonviolent action that we would attempt as a group or individuals.
If she was not on trial herself, she'd be there in the courtroom to witness and perhaps scold the prosecutor after sentencing; when she became too ill from cancer to attend the hearings, she'd send snacks and best wishes. I'll miss her outspoken conviction, drive and genuine loving kindness, as well as her strident voice. She was truly one with her cause.
Betty Schroeder could not prevent the invasion of
She has left that unfinished task for our immediate nonviolent action.