Exhibit: Women Who Dared
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Betsy Shure Gross
Environmentalist and Community Preservationist

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What Else She Said

When [Gary, husband] was at medical school, I was student-teaching, and the school in which I did my student-teaching was the school at which I had been a grammar school student. It had changed, because the neighborhood had changed, and it was clearly, when I was there, a fairly homogenous school and by 1961 it was quite racially-mixed and it was very clear that there was a sense in terms of the faculty that there were some parents who were more important than other parents.

And New Haven was changing. And we became involved with Planned Parenthood and reproductive freedom because in Connecticut you couldn't buy a contraceptive until 1972. And so the changes in the community and the pressures - both racial and in terms of the women's movement - were very clear to me.

And I think I had always been a feminist but I didn't realize it because I thought I was just always in trouble - but there became a way to find a place in the community and work for change, both at the local levels in terms of the school, and in terms of reproductive rights. And then it became clear to me that parks and open space were the places that both student wives and members of the community went for sanctuary and rest and recreation, and they were awful - they were really a mess.

I went back to Edgewood Park, because it was near where we were living as medical students and it had become part of a mixed neighborhood. It was really suffering from not only lack of maintenance that had to do with the parks budget and economics, but it was suffering from being in a changed neighborhood. And it was just sort of instinctual to try and make the park better as an adjunct to making the neighborhood better.

It was a place that I had really loved and cared about and it seemed important to be able to make it beautiful again and a gift to the neighborhood that hadn't inherited it. So I just sort of got involved in open space that way.

How to Cite This Page
For a bibliography: Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women's Archive - Women Who Dared - Betsy Shure Gross on PATH TO ACTIVISM." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/fullAnswer.jsp>.

For a footnote: Jewish Women's Archive, "Jewish Women's Archive - Women Who Dared - Betsy Shure Gross on PATH TO ACTIVISM," <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/fullAnswer.jsp>.