Bea Klier

Bea KlierBea Klier was born in 1916 to a determined 16-year-old mother who from the start inspired her to always ask questions and to never stop learning. Klier’s fascination with the Earth and the cosmos led her to earn a degree in geology from Hunter College in 1937. She worked as civilian meteorologist for the US Air Force during World War II, high school earth science teacher, researcher of climatology with NASA, and director of education at the Academy of Sciences. She was an activist throughout her life, beginning as a newlywed in the 1930s; with her progressive minded husband she began helping neighbors who had been evicted: “We picked one family, the man was away in the army and the wife was home with two babies. We went to the local grocery store and brought food to the family and then locked ourselves in. Because the marshal was going to come and put the furniture out in the street. And it worked! …The political climate became better when Franklin Roosevelt was elected. We began to struggle for unemployment insurance and social security and relief. He was receptive. It is an error of history to say that he created them. He didn’t. We did.”

Her activism was not limited to the United States. Bea Klier has traveled all across the world, stating: “I want to see things with my own eyes. I have that problem. I don’t accept what is written. Cause I know it is easy to lie or mask the truth with fancy words.” She has traveled to Costa Rica and Guatemala to do research and see sweatshops for herself. After returning she led an effort to force all businesses in the city to discontinue using those places to manufacture their goods. Later in life, she visited the Arab Emirates, “because I got sick and tired of hearing negative stuff.” She told stories of the brave women she met and of the misrepresentation of Al-Jazeera in the American media. She also traveled the world for research and exploration—at the age of 89, Bea traveled to Madagascar to view solar eclipses. She is still exploring.




Interview by Esther Cohen and Rachel Bernstein, camera and edit by Ruth Sergel

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