By: Jessica Lundstrom*
In celebration of Conflict Resolution Month, Student Legal and Mediation Services is presenting a blog series about individuals that inspire peace in their communities and the world. This ninth post in the series is about Betty Williams, and her contributions to peace and conflict resolution.
Betty Williams once said,“There’s no use talking about the problem unless you talk about the solution.” To me, that is one of the most important points when dealing with conflict. It is easy to jump to conclusions when you are angry and not look for a solution but instead focus on the problem at hand and not find a solution at all.
Betty Williams witnessed the death of three children on the 10th of August, 1976 at the hand of the Irish Republican Army or IRA. The IRA believed Ireland should be an independent republic and felt political violence was necessary to achieve their goals. These three children were hit by a vehicle, driven by a member of the IRA, in front of their mother. The grief the mother endured eventually drove her to commit suicide. When Williams found out about this she wanted to start a petition for peace from the Irish Republican Army and obtained around 6,000 signatures from others in agreement. She was also co-founder of a group called Women for Peace which was later named The Community for Peace People.
She has won numerous awards, including a Nobel Peace Prize, for her efforts in peace. She also taught here at Sam Houston State University as a visiting professor in Political Science and History for a short while. She committed herself to projects uniting ethnic and cultural groups on campus and in the local community and was head of the Global Children’s Foundation here in Huntsville. She was a humble woman who not only cared about herself but wanted to do everything she could to help make the world, and Huntsville, a more peaceful place.
Imagine how much more peaceful the world could be if everyone had the drive Betty Williams did! Do you remember KONY 2012? It was a huge movement to stop a man named James Kony that attacks, kills, and abducts children and people in Africa. It was a huge campaign on social media in 2012 but it died down almost a week after. We live in a time where we like to boast about peace on social media, but how are we really going to make a change?
Next time you are faced with conflict, think before you react and don’t react until you are able to talk about a solution. We can change the world one “peace” at a time, however, the change has to start within yourself. Find your inner peace and share it with everyone.