Emma Byrne's passion

Columbia resident: British-born activist works for peace and understanding

Bright Lights

September 25, 2001

EMMA BYRNE is 80 years old and still going strong.

She's so busy, in fact, that when contacted recently, she didn't have much time to talk. She was getting that helping hand of hers ready again, preparing this time for a meeting at Columbia's Oakland Mills High School.

It was just nine days after the Sept. 11 attack, and she was planning to help parents deal with their children's pain.

Ms. Byrne has a passion for helping. The longtime peace activist gets involved whenever she feels she can contribute.

She's a board member of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse. She's a member of the Howard County Clergy for Social Justice and Community Building Howard County, and she volunteers with the county's Martin Luther King Commission, the Christian Women's Thrift Shop, Focus on Peace Week and the Foreign-Born Information and Referral Network.

The octogenarian also has a little hip-hop in her - she has written a peace rap.

Ms. Byrne is a British native for whom the Sept. 11 attack refreshed horrible memories of bombs dropping on her motherland during World War II - seven years, she recalled, "of bombing and darkness." Now, she wants to help children in her adopted country get through the dark days to sunlight. That's just the most recent case in which she's shone a bright light in Maryland.

Bright Lights spotlights people who make a difference in the quality of life in this area. It appears periodically in this column.

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