John Dreyzehner

Fall Speakers

John J. Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, Fellow, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Health

October 25, 2012 //  The Lyric Theater  //  7pm  //  Free admission

Pam McMichael, non-profit Management Director of the Highlander Center, Fellow, Rockefeller Foundation, activist, organizer

November 29, 2012  //  The Lyric Theater  //  7pm  //  Free admission


One thought on “John Dreyzehner

  1. Of Photographs, Limestone and place – an evening with Dr. Tal Stanley
    If you had walked in a few minutes late, and heard Dr Tal Stanley speak, you would perhaps have mistaken his reading from his book to be a recitation from John Muir’s lament about the vanishing wilderness. While his talk was replete with references to nature and our environment, his subject is firmly rooted in community.
    He was speaking at the Lyric Theatre, Blacksburg at the “Community Voices” event sponsored by Virginia Tech’s Institute for Policy and Governance.

    Dr Stanley, who is a professor at Emory and Henry College, is an advocate of the notion of “citizenship of place”, and has a deep-rooted affection for the place of his birth and the communities that inhabit it.

    While not parochial in any sense, he argues that in this age of modernization and globalization, it is crucial that we belong to a place. It is imperative also for us to know our obligations and responsibilities to nurture, defend and also re-imagine it, if required.
    Using examples of a few individuals who made a significant change to the local communities, by sheer will power, imagination and a dedication to making the communities vibrant, he painted a picture of hope, rooted in.

    In an age of migration, budget-cuts, factory closures and a million other tragedies, Dr Tal Stanley’s message of hope resonated with the audience, who were captivated by his story telling. His tales, which were about the many brave men and women of Virginia, who refused to give up and fought systemic issues to prevail and establish schools, housing, healthcare clinics among other things.

    Big Creek People in Action, Mc Dowell County, West Virginia is one such group of individuals, who took decisive action. This is one of the poorest counties in the county with absolutely no healthcare facilities and other basic amenities. Started in 1990, this non-profit was formed to combat the hopelessness that enveloped the county.
    Stanley makes a compelling case for learning from the history of a place, forming a bond with it and looking beyond the conflicts and visible dissonance of what is and what ought to be.

    “Our places don’t need one answer, but an honest response – they demand our honesty, hope – rooted in that place” he said, pointing to the need for addressing the challenges that many local communities across the country are facing.

    While calling for a pragmatic approach to solving problems, using all available resources, he also called for re-imagining the future of communities. “Why should we be despondent when a coal mine closes down, can’t we re-tool ourselves to become the “green-builders” of the nation. The change may be hard, challenging and almost impossible; but the end result will be all the more satisfying and meaningful, once we have done it”, he added.

    His talk was as insightful as it was informative. In conclusion, he pointed out :” Every place is two places, one of policy, the other of cadences. This is the creativity we need, to revive what is lost through globalization”.

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