[act-ma] FW: In Memory of Julia Wallace, 1936-2010

Judy Somberg judy_somberg at igc.org
Tue Jan 5 10:01:33 PST 2010

I am writing to share the sad news that Julia Wallace died yesterday,
January 3, at Mt. Auburn hospital. Her husband Jim and their daughter were
by Julia's side.

There will be a memorial service at the Old Cambridge Baptist Church on
Saturday, January 9th, at 3 p.m.
Jim's email address is <jimjuliawallace at verizon.net>, and his mailing
address is 141 Oxford St., Cambridge, MA 02140.

Julia and Jim Wallace came to Cambridge in 1968 and joined the Old Cambridge
Baptist Church (OCBC) in 1969. When their two children studied abroad in
Latin America, The Wallaces were turned onto many issues facing Latinos,
particularly Central Americans. The Wallaces made a push for OCBC to become
a Sanctuary church for undocumented Central American refugees in the 1980s.
They generously housed Salvadoran immigrants in their Cambridge co-op. The
Wallaces were also strong voices advocating the City Council Resolution to
legally recognize Cambridge as a "Sanctuary City."


This resolution was called symbolic by some had several far-reaching and
important effects. Sanctuary status led to the development of a free
healthcare policy for low-income people at Cambridge Hospital. Governor
Michael Dukakis established a refugee policy for the Commonwealth, based on
the resolution. Undocumented Latinos were now able to seek services from the
city without fear. Julia once explained the power of the City Council
Resolution from personal experience:


"A Salvadoran woman, who was living with us, wanted to break up with her
boyfriend. And he accosted her one morning as she was walking to the bus to
go to work. He punched her in the face. She wanted to go to the police and
get a restraining order and I said I would go with her. So we went to the
police station in Central Square. I thought I kind of wanted to see if they
could handle the Spanish language so I didn't volunteer to help translate.
I'm not that good. And so we asked for somebody who could speak Spanish and
they got on the radio and called in a guy on the beat in Central Square to
come in and talk with her. And he was very kind and helpful to her. But the
first thing he said was, 'Don't ever be afraid to come here if you're not
documented because this is a Sanctuary city'"

Many knew Julia through her work with the Cambridge-El Salvador Sister City
Project, others through her involvement others through her working as a
teacher at what is today's Graham & Parks School. We are deeply appreciative
of Julia's life and work, and of her commitment to peace and justice. Our
thoughts and prayers are with Jim and his family.

Brian Corr
Executive Director
Cambridge Peace Commission
51 Inman St., Cambridge, MA 02139
617.349.4694 voice
617.349.4766 fax
bcorr at cambridgema.gov

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