Grace Spring is an artist, an activist and a Tibetan supporter who for more than 10 years held a solo vigil every Friday morning in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington with a Tibetan national flag and a placard, drawing attention to the plight of the Tibetan people.
In an interview to the Washington Post in December 1989, Grace said she initiated the vigil after the Chinese Government’s clampdown on Tibetan demonstrators in Tibet in 1987. “I asked myself what is possible for me to do as an American, just by myself,” Spring told the Washington Post. “It only takes one witness. I stand there, carrying the Tibetan flag and a sign.”
The Dalai Lama, in a letter of appreciation to Grace Spring on March 4, 1989, said, “I am very touched by your continued support of our struggle. The American public has been very sympathetic to us and your vigil in front of the Chinese Embassy is a symbol of this.”
Richard Gere, Chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet, shared with Grace that this Light of Truth was to recognize “the countless contributions you have made to Tibet, the Tibetan people and His Holiness the Dalai Lama over the past several decades. You have been a fearless and committed activist- not just for our work at the International Campaign for Tibet, but to the broader Tibet movement.”
He added, “I know this does not mean your work on Tibet is finished as I am certain that Tibet and the Tibetan people continue to be in your thinking at all times but what is does mean is that, we recognize you for your many, meaningful contributions to this work and we would like to honor the extraordinary light that you have shown to the Tibet issue.”
In addition to serving on the Board of the International Campaign for Tibet, Grace founded an organization for Tibet in Washington, D.C., and had served as a regional director of the U.S. Tibet Committee.
A resident of Washington, D.C. for many years, Grace has now relocated to Middlebury in Vermont, close to where her daughter Cassandra Corcoran resides.
The presentation of the award, a traditional Tibetan butter lamp, symbolizing the light the recipient has shed on the cause of Tibet, will take place in Burlington, VT, in conjunction with the Tibetan Association of Vermont’s celebration of Losar, Tibetan New Year, on February 17, 2018.
The Light of Truth award was first presented in 1995, and is bestowed upon individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the public understanding of Tibet and the plight of the Tibetan people. Previous recipients include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, A.M. Rosenthal, Vaclav Havel, Lowell Thomas, Jr., Elie Wiesel, Irmtraut Wäger, people of India, Chinese people who have stood up for Tibet, the Swiss Red Cross, the International Commission of Jurists.