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  • Writer's pictureDr. Joyce Brown

Generosity and Reciprocity

Joyce Brown, Ph.D

To whom much is given, much is required: Luke 12:48


I use my gifts of research, editing, and writing to help others make a difference in achieving their educational dreams. Since childhood, I was taught that African Americans’ talents, resources, and gifts were the fuel to help others attain freedom and stability and achieve their dreams. That each generation is connected to the previous ones and expected to help the next one, and that eventually, we will positively transform the societal and economic systems of America.

While that dream of change has not been fulfilled as our ancestors envisioned it, we still have a responsibility to use our gifts to build stronger relationships and stronger community connections. We cannot grow weary when we experience push-back or crippling systems put in place to marginalize our communities. Throughout my lifetime, the prison-industrial complex and the influx of drugs into our communities have been used to attack and weaken our communities. However, rampant the drugs or the mass incarceration prison of young men and women, the rest of us must recognize our gits that heal and uplift our community and use them for that purpose. We cannot grow complacent or weary.

Whether editing a dissertation or manuscript for graduate students, I am buoyed to see another person fulfilling their educational and professional dreams. Friends and colleagues ask why invest that much time in another person’s educational achievement. And my answer is always the same…back in 1999, when I wrote a lengthy 200-page dissertation, the third person on my dissertation committee not only read the paper for accuracy and scholarship but also edited the draft as he read it. Editing went above and beyond the university’s requirement for a committee person.

His gift of kindness saved me additional time and money, reinforced that the research was important, and that my scholarship had earned me the Ph.D. More importantly, I felt seen, heard, and affirmed after the grueling process of attending graduate school while working a full-time job and helping my children transition into their adult lives.

These emerging and seasoned scholars whose papers I review and edit share their academic and research gifts across a broad spectrum of policymakers, educators, and communities. Scholarship written by African Americans and the wider community adds to the body of literature that benefits and invites change. New perspectives can aid in removing the false separations or mythology about the lack of scholarship within communities of color. We gain new insights from community members affected by disproportionate negative outcomes compared to the majority.

Because of additional scholarly research, disparate people can sit around the same table to address issues in meaningful ways that benefit everyone. We are inextricably linked whether we want to be or not. And I’ve learned new information that would not be readily available to me unless I conducted my own research in their areas of expertise.

The twenty-first century has been rife with politicians and disgruntled Americans who want to rewrite history, disparage the gains of marginalized groups, and discount the benefits of using the gifts and talents of a wide array of the citizenry. One of the ongoing challenges is to find ways for communities to benefit from these scholars.

Leaders and citizens must be willing to accept new and multi-layered information and use it to change the circumstances of the people they represent. With further information and talented young scholars, community leaders have new ideas and practices to challenge the lies, distortions, and corruption of community systems that have not served us well.


Joyce A. Brown is a motivational speaker and author who uses her creative energy to give voice and meaning to the challenges women face in all walks of life. She grew up in Rockford, Illinois in a household of strong women, but her professional career expanded her reach into Peoria and Battle Creek, Michigan. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and has served as a direct services worker, executive director, program director for a major foundation, and entrepreneur. Joyce has experienced many uplifting moments as a professional and as a dedicated parent and strives to bring those events and lessons to life through her characters in the contemporary fiction novels she pens. Visit her Author’s Page

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