American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs

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This Sunday it will be my great privilege to co-interview one of the legendary role models of our times – for movement activists, for Americans, for human beings who simply want to be better – 98 year-old organizer and visionary Grace Lee Boggs.

I’m not sure the exact time I first read Grace’s writings, heard her speak, or learned of her work but I do know that I continue to return to her words and actions, time and again, for inspiration, guidance, and strength.

There are so few people who have participated in what she calls the “great humanizing movements of the past seventy years – the labor, civil rights, Black Power, women’s, Asian American, environmental justice, and antiwar movements” and yet emerge with renewed capacity to critique with fierce compassion that which remains to be done and that which needs to be completely reinvented.

After nearly a century, Grace continues to learn with and engage us in dialogue that calls us to be bold with our moral imagination, and to connect the entirety of our lives.

The new film AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS documents her life and will be screened this Sunday in San Francisco as the centerpiece presentation of CAAMFest.

Immediately afterwards, I’ll have the opportunity to help lead the question and answer session with Grace and the filmmakers. If you can come, you really should.

Because if being radical means constantly seeking the root cause of the matter, and if being revolutionary means demanding a full circle of change, then Grace Lee Boggs can show us how to be both.

Vincent Pan is executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, a community-based civil rights organization in San Francisco.