Dr. Hayden Says…Joy is on Her Way!

RIISE received an important message from Dr. Francis Hayden-Indie School Dad. We had to share it with you!
Dear Friends,
Dr. Joy Degruy (http://joydegruy.com/) is simply the most dynamic and effective speaker in our nation today on the subject of the UNFINISHED business of racial (black-white) healing. PLEASE make time in your busy schedules to see her in Mount Vernon. You will be electrified, riveted, energized, and inspired, AND ENTERTAINED on the issue of the most vital and challenging issue confronting our nation as it attempts to surge forward into 21st century challenges.
As a public intellectual, I have thought long and hard about the intimate interconnectedness between racial issues in this country and ALL of the vexing issues in the news: The budget deficit, intractable poverty, the “99%,” the “47%,” militarism, the fiscal cliff, health care reform, political polarization, public education, etc.
As I learned by reading Before the Mayflower years ago, and by my close association with Nathan Rutstein and the Institutes for the Healing of Racism, no major issue in this country can be understood without addressing our nation’s long and ongoing obsession with/avoidance of (because both can occur simultaneously) race, class, economic exploitation, elitism, and ultimately social justice.
Joy will bring all of these issues into focus with humor and intensity.
Just a little story to illustrate what I said about Joy:
In 2009, my daughter, Cheyenne, who was 9 at the time, and I attended a community forum at Bethesda Baptist Church in New Rochelle, sponsored jointly by the church and the Department of Housing in New Rochelle, where Joy was the featured speaker. Those of you who already know Cheyenne will see the poignancy of this.
Well, the talk began in the mid-afternoon on a weekend day, and lasted about 4 hours. It lasted 4 hours not because Joy had planned to talk for 4 hours. It lasted that long because the audience, which was a mix of black, white, and “others,” sat in rapt attention and “called forth” that much of the story from Joy.
The most remarkable thing was that Cheyenne, with NO encouragement or goading or redirection from me, sat on the edge of her chair intently listening the entire time. Now, the room was a bit chilly and I sort of expected Cheyenne, who in some contexts can get bored and clingy, to start complaining that she was cold, how much longer? etc. But there she was, transfixed and imbibing the story of our country’s racial identity formation.
At the end of the talk, Cheyenne requested that we go to the BACK of the long line of those getting their media signed by Joy, so that she would be able to hang out and talk with her for a while!
Finally, I will add that Cheyenne is a very well-balanced girl, with no tendencies to obsess over any particular social issue. For example, unlike myself, she is not particularly now and has never been very interested in racial issues. However, I think what happened is that her EMPATHIC antennae were stimulated by Joy’s own genius for pointing out our common humanity, as well as the absurdity of the walls we throw up between each other.
Friends, please do not take my word for it. Please come to this talk and see for yourself. I assume it is free, as are all of her public presentations, being sponsored by the host organization. This is at least her third or fourth trip to Mount Vernon over the past 15 years, a city that has been beset with a heart-breakingly high level of troubles affecting certain neighborhoods directly, but implicating the entire community in our complicity and passivity.
So, get active, get real, and get out and see Dr. Joy DeGruy! And please forward this to 5 of your dearest friends!
Your friend,
Francis Hayden, M.D.

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