Grace Lee Boggs died today at 100. These are 5 quotes to remind you how amazing she was.

Grace Lee Boggs died today at the age of 100 — and what a life she lived.

The globally respected Detroit-based activist and philosopher wasn't just special because she was a legendary leader in the 1960s Black Power movement as a Chinese American woman.

And it's not just because she was still fiercely loving and supporting young people through her award-winning youth program in Detroit at the age of 100.


And it's not just because she refused to be put into an "cause" box, seamlessly using her voice for education reform, anti-racism, environmentalism, urban revitalization, and countless other issues that she saw as all undeniably connected.

Photo via Gary Stevens/Wikimedia Commons.

Nope. Grace's greatest contribution to those of us who care about making the world a better place is that she was, above all, a thinker. She didn't believe in mindlessly doing in the name of good. She knew that we had to think deeply and critically about the world around us. Her deep commitment to the role of philosophy in social change led her to ideas that didn't just help wage political campaigns or fights — they helped people live better, richer lives.

But you don't have to take my word for it.

Hundreds of people have shared what they learned from her life using the hashtag #GraceLeeTaughtMe.


Here are just a few more lessons she taught us:

Grace knew we couldn't stand on the sidelines and fix a society that we don't believe is our own. Her idea is simple yet profound: In order to make things better, we must dig in and take responsibility.

Grace always remained committed to the city that she believed held so much beauty and power. Times changed, the city changed, the nation changed — but through it all, she never abandoned her beloved city even as it became the national poster child for blight and neglect. Grace always saw the beauty of its landscape and its people and never stopped believing in it. She knew where she belonged.

Grace will forever be known as an activist who believed in the necessity of self-transformation. She once said that being human didn't just happen because we dropped out of a womb. It wasn't just a biological assignment. It was a practice — something we have to work at and can always grow to be better at. According to Grace, that work — the work of becoming more human and changing ourselves — is essential to changing the world.

To Grace, activism wasn't just about a political goal or a social outcome. She believed there was beauty and value in the process of working together, of building community, of changing ourselves in order to change the world.

This one pretty much speaks for itself.

Grace's life was a life of love...

...a love for the world that she was so determined to fix and a love for the people that she was blessed to share the planet with. She will be sorely missed. But as she rests in peace and power, we'll reflect on all she taught us. And we promise to never forget.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.