Alene Winifred “Wini” Brown Hall was born August 10, 1925 in Redlands, California. Her parents were George E. Brown, Sr. and Birdie Kilgore. Wini passed away on January 11, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona. She was 91.
Wini grew up in Holtville, California (known as the carrot capital of the world) along with two brothers and a sister. She was educated in public schools.
Wini moved to Los Angeles when she was 18, and graduated with a degree in sociology from UCLA. She then was employed as a social worker for Los Angeles County.
On March 9, 1951, Wini married Dr. Henry K. Hall, a post-doctorate researcher in UCLA’s Chemistry Department in Santa Monica, California. In 1953, the Halls moved to Wilmington, Delaware. They had three children, Joan K., Douglas E., and Lillian M. At the time of her passing, she also left a grandson, Trevor.
In 1969, the Halls moved to Tucson. Wini completed her Doctorate in Education from the University of Arizona in 1979.
Wini was most known for her social activism. It began at an early age, having compassion for people escaping the Dust Bowl and settling into a Hooverville outside of Holtville, witnessing mistreatment of Mexican migrant workers in the carrot fields of her hometown, and seeing friends of Japanese ancestry being put into internment camps.
Later, Wini’s primary concern was for her children and to improve the world they would grow up and live in. She worked on this effort to the very end of her life. Her influence can be seen in her entire family as they shared her passion for social justice. Henry, also, has a history of activism. Her children were often on picket lines with her. Today, Joan is an expert in micro-finance for impoverished nations; Douglas volunteered during the Sanctuary movement of the 1980s; and Lillian is a peace activist and farmer in Colombia, where she moved after decades of outreach and community service in Nicaragua.
Wini would challenge authority that was using its power unjustly. Wini was tireless in both energy and spirit in her participation on behalf of causes that were important to her.
She worked for racial equality and integration with the Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.). Wini helped integrate the Rialto Theater in Wilmington, Delaware and she marched with Dr. Martin Luther King and attended his “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, DC. (She was invited to stand on the podium with her Congressmen brother— Rep. George Edward Brown, Jr.) She picketed Bullock’s department store for its segregationist policies.
She was an activist for peace: She demonstrated against the Vietnam War and was arrested at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base for protesting the deployment of cruise missiles. She participated with the women’s encampment at the Royal Air Force Base at Greenham Common, England to protest cruise missiles and nuclear weapons. She also visited Hiroshima. Wini was an active member of Another Mother for Peace.
Wini believed in non-violent conflict resolution. She participated in the Creative Response to Conflict programs in prisons and elsewhere and received many letters from prisoners thanking her for giving them conflict resolution skills and “treating me like a human being.” She also put on cross-cultural workshops to foster understanding.
Wini worked on behalf of a panoply of political candidates and causes. She possessed decades worth of buttons representing those issues, movements, and candidates that were near and dear to her heart. Among her possessions was a letter from then-Senator John F. Kennedy thanking her for her efforts as he successfully campaigned for president.
Many other organizations benefited from her wisdom and energy. Wini was an active participant in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and the Quaker Meeting of which she was a member, Pima Monthly Meeting in Tucson.
Wini Hall was accepted into membership in Pima Meeting in December, 1986. She served the Meeting as Co-Clerk of the Meeting, Clerk of Ministry and Oversight, Clerk of Membership and Marriage, and Clerk of Peace and Social Concerns. Additionally, she was on the Communications/Newsletter Committee, on Nominating Committee, and served as a Greeter.
To rejuvenate, Wini got sustenance from art. She was an accomplished sculptor. She also found nurturance from the company of plants and animals.
Wini and her multitudinous examples of social activism and looking out for the needs of others inspired many. As was written on an announcement for her memorial meeting, “Wini’s love of life and willingness to speak truth to power will be sorely missed. But the good news is that her spirit stays with us and pushes us out of our comfort zone and out of our armchairs into the street and meeting houses to continue her life’s work, changing the world even as she loved it.”