In honor of GraceLee Boggs.
Stop. If you only have three minutes, please read the above profile of an astounding and inspiring woman instead. Otherwise, read about her and then come back. Please and thank you.
I’d been writing this post on advocacy and activism (topics dear to the Full Spectrum heart) when I heard that Grace Lee Boggs had passed. A fellow Mawrtyr (graduate of Bryn Mawr College: Ms. Boggs was a Bryn Mawr Ph.D.), she was known for a lifelong commitment to justice and equality for ALL. In a time in which all of the following combinations were practically unimaginable, she was a *Chinese-American *female *scholar married to a *Black man. She was a lifelong feminist, worked hard for labor and the environment and her community, and advocated powerfully and effectively for universal civil rights –HUMAN RIGHTS.
My original post explored how we come to activism: how I’ve watched people with cancer (or loved ones with cancer) become cancer activists, people with sensory processing differences become SPD activists, autistic people and their families and loved ones become autism activists...
But my main point was and is that I believe and hope that people whose hearts and minds are opened up by the particular, personal injustices of the world are inclined to open those hearts and minds further to include the desire for justice, fairness, equality, and inclusion for ALL. Grace Lee Boggs represented this beautiful tendency.
She had the vision to see the humanity and worth in all people. Knowing what I know of that vision, I know implicitly that she would have embraced the concept that autistic and neurodiverse people are inherently worthy of equal rights and respect, and that families of mixed ethnicity are simply, and fully, families, and that people with sensory processing differences experience the world in completely valid ways, and...and...
Perhaps it’s this little word, “and,” that’s key. We choose “and” instead of “or:” because there are enough rights to go around. We don’t have to choose whether it’s race OR ability OR sexuality OR identity OR whatever particular “type” that “gets” to have rights.
We ALL do.
Those with big, generous hearts remind us of the world's potential, sometimes-hidden bigness and generosity, even when it is hard for others to see. Those of us with growing hearts can look to people like Grace Lee Boggs and take hope.
Figure I – When We Become Rainbows of Inclusion in a Sometimes Limited-Vision World
I’ve wondered why some people come to activism on their own, through a strong sense of more generalized compassion, or whether most come only through experiences of difference, discrimination, challenge...
I’ve also considered how – let’s face it – TIRING it can be to see injustice everywhere, never mind to combat it with all you’ve got. Grace Lee Boggs (okay, she didn’t have children; however she did care a great deal about them!) managed to truly live her commitment to justice for 100 years!
What is your cause? Particular, universal, or both...? And even when you don’t have the time or energy or opportunity to advocate, activate, etc., do you have a broader vision of who should be considered fully equal and human and why? I dare to hope so.
Full Spectrum Mama