Pat Hoffman: The Quiet Activist
Pat Hoffman was born in Washington State. She moved to downstate New York when she was five and to Syracuse with her first husband in 1954. They raised nine children here. She claims she canít understand why the PNL is interested in interviewing her, but behind her humble facade she reveals a long history of activism and support work with SPC.
How did you first get involved with SPC?
It was during the Viet Nam War. It was a candlelight march people organized up at Syracuse University and it came down a hill, like Adams or something. It was at night and you could look back and the whole hill was full of people with candles. And I used to do the Hiroshima Day stuff. They didnít have the procession then. I remember leafletting on the sidewalks on Salina Street.
It sounds like when you were first involved it was with a lot of demonstrations and protests.
Yes, and then when William Sunderland and Glenda Neff were at the Peace Council, I started to go in. I used to go in one day a week and William was trying to teach me the bookkeeping. At some point Corinne Kinane gave me the job of working with the pledges. Iíve been doing it ever since.
Who or what has inspired you?
Iíd say the Berrigans were an inspiration. I met Carol because weíre both Catholic College alumni and I met her in a group like that. And through Unity Acres. We started taking food up there in about í69. I thought Phil Berriganís book No More Strangers was one of the best books I ever read. My answer could be the Berrigans, and my second husband, Bill [Cuddy].
You said youíre not much of an optimist. What keeps you motivated if you donít think itís getting any better?
You have to keep your awareness of whatís really going on in the world. If youíre not part of the solution, youíre part of the problem.
Off the top of your head, what is your most memorable experience with SPC?
One of my sons graduated from SU when Alexander Haig spoke at commencement (refers to photo in 1980s column of Jan. PNL history spread). So we wondered, should we participate in the demonstration? Should we go to the graduation like parents would do? We were part of the demonstration. We sat behind that group of people. We didnít dress up. I didnít have any blood on my face.