Honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Feminist Trailblazers: Patsy Mink, Merata Mita and Grace Lee Boggs

Women throughout history have been inventing, leading, organizing, creating and making the world a better place despite gender injustice. If women knew about these inspiring stories that have been kept from them, would they be bolder and have more willingness to persevere?

Throughout Women’s History Month, discover untold stories of incredible women—made possible by nonprofit Look What SHE Did! Since incorporating as a in 2015, Look What SHE Did! has produced 150+ three- to four-minute films of women telling the stories of the trailblazing women who inspire them.

This week: Patsy Mink, the first woman of color elected to Congress; Merata Mita, filmmaker, teacher and activist; and Grace Lee Boggs, civil rights activist.

(And don’t miss previous installments on Latina trailblazers, women who dissent and Black women leaders!)

Patsy Mink

Patsy Takemoto Mink, a 5’3″ dynamo from Hawaii, was a brilliant and determined attorney-politician dedicated to social justice who led a lifetime of firsts (the first woman of color elected to Congress, for one!). Mink’s greatest legacy was the Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education Act, prohibiting gender discrimination. Countless girls and women have benefited from this law, gaining access to classes, programs, sports teams and more, proving over and over that given a level playing field—women compete and win.

In her inimitable style, actor-activist Kate Rigg thrills us with the story of this tiny firebrand, informing us why we are all indebted to the amazing Patsy Mink. 

There was no NO. There was always YES AND.

Kate Rigg

Merata Mita

Merata Mita—filmmaker, teacher, activist, storyteller, wife, mother of six—did it all. And in doing so, she changed the lens through which her people were seen. Born in New Zealand, raised in the traditional teachings of the Indigenous Polynesian people known as the Māori, Mita used film and video to reach her high school students, most of whom were Māori and considered “unteachable.” This multi-faceted artist went on to become her culture’s first female writer-producer-director of a feature film.

Playwright Larissa FastHorse tells of her mentor’s influence on other Indigenous artists as well as the impact Merata Mita made possible by giving voice and value to her own stories and those of her people.

She changed the lens through which her people were seen.

Larissa FastHorse

Grace Lee Boggs

A woman way ahead of her time, activist-philosopher Grace Lee Boggs was a Chinese American woman who grew up in Queens, born to immigrant parents, who dedicated her prodigious intellect and great heart to the causes of civil rights for African Americans in Detroit. How’d she get there, this young girl out on her own, invisible because of racism, poverty and gender?

Listen to filmmaker Grace Lee tell the fascinating—and relevant—story of a woman who made a difference.

You cannot change society unless you take responsibility for it.

Grace Lee

These videos were created by Look What SHE Did!

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Look What SHE Did! is a nonprofit organization with the mission to inspire women to greatness by bringing to light stories of remarkable women who changed the world. They create short films featuring female storytellers celebrating women who inspire them.