Remembering Betty Williams (IN LEND)

December 21, 2018

Today we lost a friend, colleague, and a true champion in the advocacy movement. Betty Williams, long time leader in the self-advocate community and The Arc of Indiana's Self-Advocacy Training Coordinator, passed away peacefully this afternoon surrounded by family and close friends.

A fighter to the end, Betty left us on her own terms, in her own way and at her own time.

For so many of us, we can't imagine a world without her but think for a moment what the world would be like if we had not had her. She championed so many issues. She fought so many causes. She changed so many minds, and, most importantly, she empowered so many people.

When people think about the self-advocacy movement, they think of Betty Williams. She helped so many find their voice, mentored them to become a powerful voice, and helped others understand that in many ways, the voice of self-advocates is the only voice that matters. Today, we do not even imagine having a conversation about services and supports for people with disabilities without having self-advocates at the table leading the conversation, all thanks to Betty.

The outpouring of love and support for Betty has been tremendous over the last few weeks, but specifically the last few days. Those who sent messages of love and support should know that we read each and every message to her. She heard them, and she most certainly felt love and warmth.

Now it's time to continue Betty's legacy doing what Betty would want us to do - speaking out, creating opportunities, and making the world a better place.

We will miss Betty dearly, so very dearly, but her spirit will never be lost on those of us who loved her, respected her, and were educated by her.

God Speed Betty Williams. You deserve peace, comfort and rest. You taught us how to always persevere. We will not let you down. We promise to make you proud.