Dear Grace Lee Boggs,
You’ve always articulated love as a continuous process of self-improvement and a reimagination of the world. Now more than ever, we need your vision of radical love, one that pushes us to support and affirm ourselves by breaking free of the old categories that have always defined us by what oppresses us.
Once again, we are living in a time when our civil rights, liberties, and basic human freedoms are under attack. Our communities are routinely subject to unjust deportations, shunted into prisons, surveilled, and profiled for religion or race. There is so much injustice in our daily lives that often it feels impossible to see the big picture. We often discuss how to imagine a future where we will not be fighting our oppressors. But you’ve always believed that, “so many institutions in our society need reinventing. The time has come for a new dream. That’s what being a revolutionary is.” You are constantly pushing us to imagine a future with new ideas that are necessary to address our realities.
When we have been unsure of our work and our direction, you have reminded us that we are leaders. When we have been colonized to forget our histories, languages and made to forget what we can achieve, your words have helped us embrace the idea that we are the leaders we’ve been looking for. This is why we believe that innovation that happens every day in our communities. As we struggle to survive and thrive, we see this as our process of reimagining the world for ourselves.
You’ve taught us that radical love is courageous. You’ve taught us how to embody radical love as a value in our daily lives. It would be so much easier to submit to our lots in life, navigating the world without making a splash. But, you said it best, “you cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you see yourself as belonging to it and responsible for changing it.”
We know that we cannot achieve change through one singular vision - it’s going to be a continuous process of love and struggle. This is the very foundation of which 18MillionRising.org was founded. Your principles are the ones we’ve taken to heart as we build a more just and creative world where our experiences are affirmed, our leadership is valued, and all of us have the opportunity to thrive.
So, thank you. This love letter is for you Grace Lee Boggs. Thank you so much for being one of our movement leaders and for being one of the ancestors who have laid the foundation for our work.
This Love Letters to Movement Leaders series is a part of a collection of love letters that will be released throughout 2018.
– Laura Li, Campaigner