The following is an essay that Joy’s 10 year old great grand nephew wrote and wanted to share.


In my opinion a strong woman is someone who helps people, someone who fights for what is right in spite of obstacles, and someone who is full of courage. The dictionary definition of strong is having force or authority or having strength greater than average. I believe Dr. Joy DeGruy is a strong woman because she has displayed many of these qualities in her life and most of all through her research and work.

Dr. DeGruy is a nationally and internationally renowned researcher, author, and educator. She is a clinician by training and has a P.H.D in social work research. She is a pioneer in her field, and her research is on “multi generational trauma particularly as it relates to African American people.”

Based on her work and research, she published a book that spoke of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (PTSS). In my interview with her, Dr. DeGruy explains that PTSS is “about multi generational trauma that began with the enslavement of African people in the 1600 and the kinds of mental, emotional and physical traumas that they experienced, that they passed along some of those traumas, some of the behaviors or the symptoms of those traumas to their children…”  Her work has helped African American people and people working with African Americans learn about these traumas and understand some of the behaviors without “dismissing or prejudging them.”

According to Dr. DeGruy “PTSS identifies how people (African Americans) have been deeply injured mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for over hundreds of years.” Dr. DeGruy explains that her research on PTSS helps African Americans understand their “intrinsic value, worth, and nobility as human beings” and “helps them move beyond those feelings of low self esteem.”

Dr. DeGruy helps people because she says it’s her strong spiritual belief that as a member of the Baha’i faith it is one of her responsibilities to help people. She also says that she is fulfilling her purpose in life through her work by helping others.

She inspires me because she has opened the way to a new way of thinking about trauma related to African Americans and she is trying to help heal the wounds of African Americans that have happened over many generations.

I am very proud of her.

She is courageous to speak of this subject even though it is very hard for many people to understand especially about what has been going on in the history of African American people. She hasn’t stopped and I don’t think she will stop for a very long time.

Dr. DeGruy is also family and she is one of my favorite great aunts.

–          Akhil