Last week NYC by Grace Lee Boggs
Last week I was in NYC
It gave me a lot to think about.
The theme of this year’s celebration, organized by a 25 person committee led by Monroe France, NYU’s vice-president of diversity, was “The Power of Courage, Passion, Purpose, Perseverance .”
About 75% of those seated in the big auditorium were young people of color.
The first speaker was NYU president John Sexton. He recalled MLK’s saying years ago that “Progress was not automatic or inevitable.” He also informed us that NYU students today come from many ethnic groups, with no one ethnic group being the majority.
My speech was very brief. I recalled that when King’s birthday was made a national holiday in the 1980s, we had no idea whether, like other national holidays , it would be celebrated with fireworks, BBQ and Black Fridays.
MLK would be delighted, I said , with how NYU, like many other community institutions, has viewed it as an opportunity for reflection and community service. It’s as if the American people are finally responding to Dr King’s 1967 call for a “radical revolution of values. “
I also shared a few thoughts about the importance of Visionary Organizing
Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC talk show host and university professor, spoke about the importance of struggle, mainly citing the civil rights struggles.
On Friday night I did a Q&A after the Athena Film Festival screening of American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs at Barnard College (where I received my B.A. in 1935, about 80 years ago). Before I could catch my breath, dozens of people from the diverse audience who had viewed the film descended on me, asking for a picture with me or seeking an answer to a personal question.
I ‘m not sure what that was about. It suggests to me that at this time on the
clock of the world, a lot of people want to become the change that each and all of us need both to save the planet and to evolve into more human human beings.