A Northern Ireland peace leader says she wants to eventually work herself out of a job, but she admits it "won't be overnight."
Betty Williams, co-founder of Mothers Against Violence in Northern Ireland, told a Utah State University audience that an incident in 1976 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, prompted her to help organize the group, which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977.On Aug. 10, 1976, English soldiers shot and killed an Irish Republican Army soldier, causing his car to lose control and kill three young children.
In her speech sponsored by the USU Women's Center as part of Women's History Week, Williams said she was the first person on the scene.
"As little JoAnn McGuire lay dying in my arms, I promised that I would not let another child die without doing something about it," Williams said.
Mairead Corrigan, an aunt to the children, helped her organize the group, now known as the Community of Peace People.
"We went door-to-door asking people to sign petitions for peace and to join in a peaceful march against violence in Northern Ireland, and our marches soon attracted hundreds of thousands of women and some men," she said.
Other successful programs have included "little cups of tea" campaigns that bring small groups of Protestant and Catholic women together. She said the group has opened the first integrated school in Northern Ireland and another will open next year.
"We know the only way to bring about peace is to change attitudes forged by 300 years of British domination, and we know education is the best way to do this," she said.