Imagine yourself in a tutorial at Williams. Of anyone in the world, whom would you choose to be the other student in the class, and why?
(Please limit your response to 300 words.)
I select Grace Lee Boggs to delve with me into the origins and implications of radical activism. As a self-identified writer, activist, and philosopher, Boggs embodies the character and tenacity I hope to evolve in myself and in my investigations of discriminatory policing. Boggs began her own work in Chicago in the 1960s, where she focused on marginalized groups such as women and people of color. Given her long history of organizing, the evolution women leaders have had in the past fifty years, and the myriad of issues in existence today, we will recall anecdotes, write papers comparing such time periods, and harness an amalgam of perspectives, successes, and realizations in our works. We will discuss the progression of the black struggle from her time with the Black Panther Party to the current occurrences in Ferguson and nationwide.
As an adamant believer in constant questioning—who we are as individuals, and how we relate to those in our community and country—Boggs will challenge me to reflect critically and act consciously. I wish to explain to her my struggle to reconcile my multiple identities as a low-income, first-generation Chinese-American woman: How do I pursue a field of inquisition given my culture of conservatism? Where do I belong in a country whose conversations on race are spoken mainly in black-and-white terms? We will dissect her idea of sustainable activism: rather than advocate for a revolution, she stresses the need to work from the ground up. How has this been exemplified in her program, Detroit Summer? How can this be applied to movements occurring around the country and the world?
Boggs and I know that the tutorial is just the beginning of visionary organizing, and we hope that such conversations will disseminate well beyond the campus, molding themselves into concrete changes.