Celebrating Grace Lee Boggs: A Century in Love and Struggle

You cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you see yourself as belonging to it and responsible for changing it.”
–Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015)

In an ongoing celebration of sacred activism and the MASC program’s 10th anniversary, Starr King School for the Ministry joined Bay Area organizers in co-sponsoring a 4-day weekend of action honoring Detroit-based activist and philosopher Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015). Joining the celebrations March 18-20, 2016 were students, educators, organizers, community members, and some of Grace’s closest comrades from the Boggs Center in Detroit.

JiwonTO workshop 2

Friday, March 18, 2016
Art as Revolution: Theater of the Oppressed for Activists, Organizers, Educators, Cultural Workers

The weekend’s activities commenced at Oakland’s Eastside Arts Alliance with a Theater of the Oppressed workshop facilitated by Starr King Adjunct Faculty member Jiwon Chung.

The Theater of the Oppressed is a series of theatrical analyses and critiques developed by Augusto Boal for radical popular education movements in the 1960s in which audience members actively challenge, resist, and transform oppression.

Following each exercise, participants had opportunities to share wide-ranging emotional responses and reflect upon themes of trust, power, submission, and respect. “There was this implicit expectation of trust,” one participant said. “We were a beast, collectively,” another exclaimed.

TO Workshop

Later that evening, audience members were treated to a film screening of the documentary American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs. Following the film, audience members heard from some of Grace’s comrades who were visiting from the Boggs Center in Detroit.

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Tawana Petty, ill “Invincible” Weaver, and Shea Howell engage with the audience following a documentary screening at the Eastside Arts Alliance.

Saturday, March 19, 2016
Growing Our Souls, Building Our Soil: A Day of Vision In Action

Any celebration of Grace Lee Boggs would not be complete without action, so the next day featured a community farm gathering in Richmond, CA. Hosted by Urban Tilth and Movement Generation, this event featured gardening, DJ’s, dancing, poets, and words from activists about the food system and Grace’s commitment to building a vision from the ground up.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Celebrating Grace Lee Boggs: A Century In Love & Struggle (Oakland Asian Cultural Center

The weekend’s celebrations culminated with a spirited gathering at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. Activists and organizers gathered to share their reflections on Grace’s work, ideas, and current movements/struggles in the Bay Area.

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Robin D.G. Kelley, Professor of African American Studies at UCLA, reflects on the legacy of Grace Lee Boggs. Read his piece entitled Thinking Dialectically: What Grace Lee Boggs Taught Me.

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