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Asian-American Leaders Remember Grace Lee Boggs

by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang /
Grace Lee BoggsQuyen Tran / Quyen Tran

Asian-American leaders and advocates are remembering civil rights icon, activist, philosopher, and writer Grace Lee Boggs, who passed away in her sleep Monday morning at her home in Detroit at the age of 100.

 Grace Lee Boggs Quyen Tran / Quyen Tran

“I am saddened by the news of Grace's passing,” said Representative Mike Honda, Chairman Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), in a statement, “but I cannot help but focus on the courage of a woman who spent her 100 years fighting for true equality, having spent over 50 years organizing with the black community in Detroit. She stood up for workers’ rights; against racial discrimination; for equal pay for women; for fair and safe housing for the poor. It is my hope that Grace’s legacy will continue to inspire younger generations.”

"May we all live our lives with as much intention, intensity and inspiration. A different world is possible. Thank you Grace Lee Boggs.”

Representative Judy Chu, CAPAC chairperson, reflected on Boggs’ legacy in a statement. “Her activism, courage, and dedication to empowering local communities taught us the importance of building strong coalitions to enact social change. While her passing leaves us with a great void, I know that her legacy will continue to live on in the many accomplishments she leaves behind and in the generations she will continue to inspire," she said.

Some recalled her lessons in social justice for all communities. “She was a pioneer not only for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, but for all communities of color and those working toward social justice,” said National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) National Director Christopher Kang in a statement. “Her work is a powerful reminder — and clarion call — that racial justice and equality can only be advanced when we care for each other."

For many activists, the impact of her legacy was deeply personal. “Grace Lee Boggs was a fierce champion for radical social change throughout her life,” said National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) Executive Director Miriam Yeung in a statement. “Her legacy is — and will continue to be — an inspiration to Asian American and Pacific Islander feminist activists. May we all live our lives with as much intention, intensity and inspiration. A different world is possible. Thank you Grace Lee Boggs.”

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center recirculated a collection of 100 quotes from Grace Lee Boggs assembled for Boggs’ 100th birthday in June. PBS made “American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs,” the documentary film about Boggs’ life, available for free online viewing until November 3.