Remembering Paij Wadley-Bailey

Paij Wadley-Bailey. Credit: Still from Goddard College video on Vimeo.

WILPF US has received word of the death on August 18, 2016, of Paij Wadley-Bailey, of Montpelier, Vermont. She was 77. She chose to end her life with the medical assistance provided by Vermont’s Death with Dignity legislation. Paij was a member of the board, serving as WILPF US secretary in 2008 and 2009.

WILPF member Tura Campanella Cook remembers board meetings with Paij: “She certainly was an important participant in the October 2008 board meeting of which I was a member. We would begin every meeting with a racial justice item. Paij led us in an African women’s tradition of Walking the Map.”

Paij grew up in West Hills, CT. She earned a master’s degree in social ecology from Goddard College in Plainfield, VT, and a master’s in education from the University of Vermont at Montpelier (UVM). She was responsible for developing the Lesbian & Gay Studies Program and Center at Goddard College and was also the first coordinator of the LGBTQA Services Program at UVM, while concurrently serving as faculty at each of these colleges.

Paij was a member of Central Vermont WILPF since 1995. Montpelier member Esther Farnsworth remembers that “Paij encouraged our branch to support the formation of WILPF in Rwanda, and took part in a fund raiser for the Rwanda Section. She sang with the Raging Grannies, even went to Washington, DC, to rage against NAFTA. Paij could be seen at the Farmer’s Market with petitions about abolishing nuclear weapons, corporate power, and closing Vermont Yankee. She was serious about speaking out on the militarism in our country, but she also sprinkled some humor into our meetings.”

She worked as director of the Vermont Anti-Racism Action Team, which maintains a hotline for complaints about racism in public schools. After learning about former WILPF US President Jean Gore’s pioneering project in Colorado, Reading to End Racism, Paij started RER in Vermont. This is an initiative to help eliminate racism by bringing community members into the classroom to read progressive books to children.

Glenn Hawkes, now director of the Ward Brook Center, which provides practical training for Rwandan teachers, students, and administrators, asked Paij to assist him with outreach work in Rwanda beginning in 2002. She made five or six trips to Rwanda, staying for several weeks at a time, teaching English as a Second Language to women who were working with people living with HIV/AIDS. She worked in partnership with local African women to form a chapter of WILPF in Rwanda.

Robin Lloyd wrote a memorial column about Paij in the Burlington, VT “Peace & Justice News” (see page 6). Nat Frothingham, editor and publisher of Montpelier’s local paper, “The Bridge,” wrote a tribute to Paij Wadley-Bradley, with remembrances of her life and work. And Goddard College has posted a video of Paij Wadley-Bailey speaking.

We also remember—

Ellen B. Blosser, WILPF US life member, died in December 2015.

Adele Kearney, who joined WILPF in 2011, passed away Thursday, October 6, in Sacramento, California. She died quietly in her sleep after a nice dinner with her daughter.

Margaret Dawson Stein, member of the Peninsula/Palo Alto Branch, who died Sunday, September 18, in Freemont, California.

(More on the lives of Margaret Dawson Stein and Ellen B. Blosser will appear in the fall/winter 2016 issue of “Peace & Freedom” magazine.)


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