As a Boston Public School teacher for some 30 years here in Jamaica Plain, it seemed to me that young and adolescent girls are as much in need of prominent “heroes” as are young and adolescent boys. Boys can look to former governor, congressman and multi-term mayor James Michael Curley for a positive example. Mayor Kevin Hagan White grew up on Eliot Street, so JP young boys have numerous “heroes” to look up to.
Few here in Jamaica Plain realize that one of our women born in Jamaica Plain and who lived at 130 Prince St. won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for her work on the Women’s International Movement for Peace. Her name was Emily Balch. The only plaque commemorating Emily Balch and her singular achievement that I know of is a tiny bronze plaque that sits beside a bench that faces Jamaica Pond.
When my husband called that plaque to my attention, I suggested to him that the entire pond should be named in Emily Balch’s honor. If not the pond, at least the boathouse should be so named.
I ask my teaching peers who are still classroom teachers to call young girls’ attention to Emily Balch as a local heroine and to research the life of this distinguished woman of Jamaica Plain. I encourage all the women of Jamaica Plain to support this long overdue recognition of our sister who won the Nobel Peace Prize.
In my view, it is high time for all women to celebrate our sisters who offer positive examples for young girls and young women. Nobel Peace Prize winner Emily Balch is certainly one such sister.
Sandra White Stone