“Do you know Grace Lee?”


Michelle Lin
Voice: (313) 333-3112

Film Premiere: The Grace Lee Project – “Do you know Grace Lee?”
Questioning conventional stereotypes of Asian American women

Event Details:
Saturday, March 18, 2006 Barth Hall in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (4800 Woodward) 6:30 pm VIP Pre-Screening Reception with Director Grace Lee, Tickets: $35
8:00 pm Film Screening with Q/A session with Director to follow, Tickets: $10-20 Adults; $5 Students and Youth

All persons named Grace Lee can attend the VIP Pre-Screening Reception and Film Screening free of charge. Please bring valid identification.

Film Synopsis:
When award-winning Korean-American filmmaker Grace Lee was growing up in Missouri, she was the only Grace Lee she knew. But when she later moved to New York and California, everyone she met seemed to know "another Grace Lee." But why did they assume that all Grace Lees were nice, dutiful, piano-playing bookworms? Pursuing the moving target of Asian American female identity, the filmmaker plunges into a clever, highly unscientific investigation into all those Grace Lees who break the mold - from a fiery social activist to a rebel who tried to burn down her high school! With wit and charm, THE GRACE LEE PROJECT puts a hilarious spin on the eternal question "What's in a name?"

Running Time: 68 min. MPAA Rating: Not Rated Genre: Education, Documentary, Media arts, Women
Website: www.gracelee.net

“Fun and offbeat! Told with humor and insight.”
-Los Angeles Times
“Delightful! A funny but complex meditation on identity, ethnicity, and cultural expectations.”

Detroit Screening:
Filmmaker Grace Lee will be in attendance at a Detroit screening of The Grace Lee Project, on Saturday, March 18, 2006. The film features an interview from Detroit’s very own Grace Lee Boggs, long-time movement activist who will be speaking at the event. Grace Lee Boggs has been involved in the Civil Rights, Black Power, environmental justice, and Asian American movements (www.boggscenter.org). All proceeds from the event will go towards Detroit-based youth organizations, Detroit Summer and the Detroit Asian Youth Project.

Detroit Summer is a multiracial, intergenerational organization fostering youth-led movement to rebuild, redefine, and re-spirit Detroit from the ground up. Co-founded by Jimmy and Grace Lee Boggs, Detroit Summer was launched in the summer of 1992 to involve youth in hands-on projects, including community gardening, public art murals, a community bicycle repair/recycle shop called Back Alley Bikes, intergenerational dialogues and community organizing. www.detroitsummer.org.

Detroit Asian Youth (DAY) Project was established in 2003 to engage Asian American youth in Detroit to develop leadership skills and awareness for social justice. DAY Project works with Hmong and other Asian American young people in the city to explore the youth’s identities, history, culture, and experiences through community projects and other educational forums.


LISTEN: Detroit Beyond the Superbowl radio broadcast

Detroit Summer Collective members Jenny Lee and Ilana Weaver created a radio piece for Black Box Radio a weekly progressive news program on 88.3FM WCBN Ann Arbor. The piece, originally broadcast February 14, is on visions of Detroit beyond the superbowl and features interviews with Detroit activist organizers Gwen Mingo, Ron Scott, and Maureen Taylor.

Click here to listen to this powerful radio piece.

The Detroit Beyond the Superbowl radio piece will also be broadcast on a Detroit radio station in the near future. Hopefully there will be more radio from DS coming out in future. Watch out.

See also this related commentary by Jenny Lee.


The Grace Lee Project

Detroit Summer and the Detroit Asian Youth Project Present...

"Do you know Grace Lee?"

Film screening in Detroit
Saturday, March 18, 2006, 8:00 PM
Barth Hall (in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul)
4800 Woodward (Woodward Ave. and Warren Ave.)

With remarks from long-time Detroit activist, Grace Lee Boggs
And a Q/A with filmmaker Grace Lee to follow
Adult: $10-20
Youth and Students: $5

Pre-Screening Reception @ 6:30 PM -- $35
Call in advance for tickets: (313) 333-3112

Filmmaker Grace Lee undertakes a unique and hilarious exploration by interviewing over 30 women named Grace Lee around the U.S. in search of a contemporary Asian American female identity, featuring Detroit's very own Grace Lee Boggs. This film shatters conventional stereotypes about what it means to be Asian American.

"...a funny but complex meditation on identity, ethnicity and cultural expectations..." --Variety

"The Grace Lee Project is a breezy first-person video essay that goes in search of the average Asian American woman, all the while wondering if there is in fact such a thing...[interviews include] Grace Lee Boggs, an 88-year-old Chinese American activist known in her Detroit community for her work in the black-power movement.."
--The Village Voice

For film info:
For event info:
(313) 333-3112

All proceeds will benefit Detroit Summer, a multi-racial youth organization dedicated to rebuild, redefine and respirit Detroit from the ground up, and the Detroit Asian Youth Project, a group promoting social justice and political self-development with predominantly Hmong and Asian American youth on Detroit's east side.


Beyond the Superbowl

By Jenny Lee, Detroit Summer Collective member
February 4, 2006

In 1992, a group of community activists coming out of the organization Save Our Sons and Daughters began organizing against the idea that casino gambling could save Detroit. At that time, the city was reeling amidst a shattered economy, crack ravaging the neighborhoods and an epidemic of youth on youth violence in the streets. Then mayor Coleman A. Young challenged the anti-gambling activists to go beyond merely protesting the construction of casinos and to answer the question: if not casinos, what kind of development could save our city?

Detroit Summer was created as an experiment in answering that question. If given the opportunity, could young people transform their communities and themselves at the same time, through projects such as urban gardening, mural painting, house rehabilitation, block parties, and community dialogue?

As the Superbowl XL and all the development projects related to it come to town amid promises that top-down corporate-led development will save our city, the question of what kind of development can rebuild Detroit remains as vital today as it was thirteen years ago.

Untold taxpayer dollars are being used to subsidize Superbowl XL and refurbish the facades of abandoned buildings. Homeless people are becoming casualties in a war over downtown's public space. Materialism is the reigning value professed through sky-high billboards. And amidst the frenzy of buying and selling spawned by the Superbowl, many have pointed out that Black-owned Detroit businesses have not received a just share of Superbowl-related contracts.

This model of development, advanced by corporate investors and city officials will take power further and further away from the people of this city in determining our future. And it's happening very fast. We need to come together and ask the questions: what kind of economy will be relevent and sustainable in our communities? What kind of schools must we build to address the current drop-out crisis? What kind of culture do we want to shape our relationships with one another, our relationships to the earth? Most importantly, how can we center the needs, interests and imaginations of young people in all of the questions we are asking about the future?

After the tourists leave, when there are no more free shuttle buses or parties for the homeless and all the storefronts stuffed with overpriced Superbowl merchandise are re-abandoned, will we feel like we have been rescued or ravaged?

This city knows what it is to be ravaged. It offered up the land and multiple generations of workers to fuel one of the country's most crucial industries. When the factories pulled out they took their power and their profits with them. We know that the NFL will do the same, no one expects otherwise. But will Compuware? Will the casinos? When the tax abatement honeymoon ends, and Detroit is no longer profitable to them will the corporations stick it out, 'try and make it work' and stay here just for the love of the city? Or will they move on to the next young thing?

Whichever way it goes, we can be certain that Detroit will continue to suffer if we stake our future on the promises offered by politicians and corporate leaders. We can not rely on any industry, election or benevolence from the suburbs to come to our rescue. We have to find ways of addressing the immediate needs of our communities while also advancing our visions of sustainability, justice and self-determination. We have to respond to the disasters at hand and begin to build the kind of world we want to live in simultaneously.

Join Detroit Summer the second thursday of every month for a community potluck and dialogue at the CCNDC Community Center, 3611 Cass Ave., where we will continue this discussion around the future of our city.

This writing was inspired by conversations with Grace Lee Boggs, Ron Scott, Maureen Taylor, Jackie Victor and the Detroit Summer Collective in the days before the Superbowl XL.