My friend Ginny Belden-Charles told me a great story today. She was working in Detroit on some community development issues with a number of activists and others. Their focus was on empowering community development and social action and creating the kinds of citizen based responses that Detroit needs, and she was invited to come and host a circle.
When Ginny arrived in her circle of folks, she was amazed at the presence of the famous revolutionary activist Grace Lee Boggs. Grace Lee Boggs is an institution in social activist circles and at 96 years old, with 70 years of practice under her bel, she is an elder in the world of social activism, and is dedicated to the long waves of social change.
Ginny reported on how in awe she was of being able to sit in a circle with this important persona and how she was looking forward to learning some of her wisdom. So when she asked Grace to begin the circle, she was eager to hear what this Elder might say.
To Ginny’s surprise, Grace turned to Ginny and said: “So why don’t you tell us tell us your story…what have you learned?”
I think you must get awfully smart by engaging in that strategy for 96 years.