Her Life

Nina Huizinga, 73, of West Philadelphia, noted peace and community activist, died suddenly of a heart attack, on March 21st. 

A few days prior to her death, on March 16th, Huizinga was honored and received an award from the West Philadelphia Neighborhood Elders, for "making a difference in our neighborhood."   Nina Huizinga (nee Long) was born on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia on September 12th, 1939, the only daughter of Julian Rosine Horn and Fred Long.  She attended elementary school at 40th and Walnut Streets, graduated from Haverford High School, and received a B.A. in history from Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA.  After working in San Francisco and New York, she traveled to Paris where she met Rijka Huizinga, a psychology graduate student from the Netherlands.  They married and lived for 10 years in the north of Holland near Groningen and the North Sea, where they had three children, two of whom were born at home.   In 1972, when the marriage ended, Huizinga and her three children returned to West Philadelphia and became part of the Life Center and the Movement for a New Society (MNS). She became involved in door-to-door tenant organizing, and anti-war demonstrating, was among a group of founders of New Society Publishing, an alternative publishing company which began in the basement of her home, and, along with neighbors, started the first Town Watch program in the country, which soon became a model for other neighborhoods and cities.  "My mother had an adventurous spirit," said her daughter, Miriam Faruqi, "and would try anything new.  She was not afraid to travel to dangerous areas of the world like Pakistan and Gaza."

Nina attended Bryn Mawr College where she received two Masters' Degrees, in Social Work and Public Policy, then worked for 15 years at the Department of Environmental Protection in Harrisburg.

More recently, she was one of the founding members of the neighborhood synagogue Kol Tzedek in 2004, and served as its Membership Chair.  She taught Hebrew to individuals and small groups, having taught herself Hebrew a few years back.  She spoke three languages and was able to read four. Returning to an earlier avocation, Nina  played a leadership role as a member of the Granny Peace Brigade Philadelphia, which takes public action on issues of war and peace.  "She was the heart and soul of our Peace Granny group," said Treasurer Joan Lukas.  "She could explore issues with an intellectual fervor," said Granny Ruth Balter, "a person of many layers, like the petals of a rose but without thorns," added Granny Pauline Labovitz.  Huizinga was a trained facilitator, mediator, negotiator, street speaker, demonstrator, writer, poet and, when called upon to make her views known, a "defiant trespasser".  She was one of eleven grandmothers arrested in 2006 for "defiant trespassing" while attempting to enlist in the military, urging the recruiters to "take us, not our grandchildren---we have lived our lives, they deserve to live theirs." 

Huizinga is survived by her three children, Peter (Ruth Wangochi) of New Mexico, Miriam Faruqi (Fawad) of Connecticut, and Jan, of Philadelphia, and one grandson, Cyrus Faruqi. A memorial service will be held on Friday, March 29th, at 4 pm, at the Kol Tzedek Synagogue at the Calvary Community Center at 48th and Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia.  In lieu of flowers, contributions are welcome by the Granny Peace Brigade Philadelphia, c/o 2019 Brandywine Street, Philadelphia, 19130.  Online greetings and condolences to