On April 29, Tedx DePaul University showcased 12 speakers from our university community—faculty, staff, students and alumni—who delivered engaging talks around various topics inspired by the theme "What must be done?"
Dorothy Griggs was one of these speakers, selected from a pool of 80 applicants. A passionate writer and self-published author, Griggs serves as the department assistant in the Center for Students with Disabilities within Student Affairs at the Loop campus. She is also a DePaul alumna, and currently a graduate student in the School for New Learning, completing her Master of Arts degree in educating adults.
Griggs's Tedx talk, "Can You Cry For Me? Will You Cry With Me?," calls out the damaging role of silence within the context of the Black Lives Matter movement. With eloquence and honesty, she challenges us to think about how loud silence can be for people who face the realities of injustice and discrimination— encouraging us to engage in open dialogue, and to choose empathy over sympathy, to promote healing and understanding.
"There is a need to process the built-up trauma that people are feeling," said Griggs, when asked what inspired the idea for her talk.
News of the tragic Charleston, South Carolina shooting, in which a white man opened fire in a historic black church in June 2015, prompted Griggs to painfully look around her communities and ask herself: "Where is the outrage? Where is the shared pain? Why is it just me and those who look like me that feel this pain? Why do others seem so unaffected?"
And when the Tedx DePaul call for speakers was announced not long after, she was inspired to formulate a talk that addressed her questions—which, one year later, continue to be poignant and relevant.
The most challenging part of the process, she shared, was allowing herself to be open, honest, and vulnerable, and trusting that people would be kind. The response, it turned out, had been more than what she had hoped for.
"This was my first time doing a talk like this," said Griggs. "It's something I've always wanted to do, and now it's become one of the highlights of my career."
Griggs released her first novel, Sisters-in-Spirit (An Old-School Love Story), in 2014 and is in the process of completing her second book, It's Taken Me All of My Life to Find Myself: Assorted Musings of My Lifelong Journey to Self-discovery, Self-healing, and Self-Love, scheduled for release on June 22, 2016. A semi-autobiography, her new book is an evaluation of her life through the lens of racism and colorism, and a reflection of her journey of self-love, self-healing and self-discovery.
Through her writings and public speaking, Griggs hopes to continue being a change agent by promoting healing and self-love.
Watch Griggs's Tedx Talk here.
To learn more about Tedx DePaul University, email TEDx@DePaul.edu.