Be the Healing
Dr. Joy DeGruy is an ambassador for healing and a voice for those who’ve struggled in search of the past, and continue to struggle through the present. Dr. Joy is the acclaimed author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome — America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: The Study Guide, with a second book in the works, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome Part 2: Be The Healing.
Dr. DeGruy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications; two master degrees in Social Work and Clinical Psychology; and a PhD in Social Work Research. With over twenty years of practical experience as a professional in the field of social work, she gives a practical insight into various cultural and ethnic groups that form the basis of contemporary American society. Through lectures, workshops, seminars and special guest appearances, Dr. Joy has shined a light on the critical issues affecting society.
Those who have experienced Dr. Joy in person, can tell you that they have been “stimulated, enlightened and inspired.” Dr. Joy’s seminars have been lauded as the most dynamic and inspirational currently being presented on the topics of culture, race relations and contemporary social issues.
Dr. Joy DeGruy has been visiting Rochester since 2010 to work with community based organizations focused on improving the lives of people impacted by racism and the associated trauma. Her visits grew to become more frequent in 2014 when she began working specifically with Action for a Better Community and the Rochester City School District.
The City of Rochester had been, and is still, experiencing high concentrated poverty. Most of the public schools were underperforming, with graduation rates hovering around 50%. Dr. DeGruy’s work was multi-faceted and included sessions with school leadership (board, administration and unions), community partners, parents, social workers, teachers and students. All were exposed to her “Relationship Model of Educational Intervention” which combined her work on Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, the Theory of Triadic Influence (Flay, Snyder & Petraitis), and the Philosophical Aspects of Cultural Difference (Dr. Edwin Nichols).
As with many cities around the country, the education system had not yet placed a premium on the relationships needed to precipitate improved outcomes for children and families. The results emanating from Rochester’s schools are the direct result of systemic and structural racism embedded in the structure of all the related systems. Dr. Joy insists that in order to heal from this untenable situation, we needed to work on all levels to create systems change, but certainly on the family level to bring healing to households and communities.
As a result, we embarked on creating culturally responsive methods and to implement her Relationship Model. This included introducing a Rites of Passage program at the elementary school level, and a Strengthening the Black Family curriculum for parents. We continue to focus on bringing these 2 programs to scale, while working with teachers on developing culturally relevant pedagogy and curriculum at the pre-school, elementary and secondary levels as other tools to operationalize the Relationship Model as a way to get to overall community healing.
In May of 2020, the Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group (BAG) declared that Racism is a Public Health Crisis in Monroe County, NY. The BAG then sought endorsements of that declaration, and accompanying commitments to action aimed to address its unfortunate validity. ABC was one of the early endorsers, and committed to accelerate our social justice advocacy.
One very concrete action step taken by ABC was adjusting our annual Signature Luncheon to a virtual conference series entitled “Racism is a Public Health Crisis – Fighting the 2 Pandemics.” The conference took place over 3 days, January 14th, 21st, and 28th. Dr. DeGruy was the keynote speaker on the closing day. She addressed the conference theme by delivering a speech entitled “Be the Healing.” It was a poignant call to action to address the systemic policies and practices that have resulted in the significant disparities manifested from racism and COVID-19.