I met Dr. Williams in the late 80’s.
She was traveling from Chattanooga to Knoxville
to get her Ph.d in Psychology.
My first remembered class with her at UTC as an undergrad
was group therapy. We, students, were the group.
Professor Williams expected us to articulate what was occurring
in our unpaid internships to each other in a confidential and
professional manner, she supported us as we wandered about the
world of poverty, the underserved and even, the criminal.
She was exact, precise and inquisitive. She expected results, thoughtful self-analysis and viewing the worlds we entered
as systems in which we could slowly and carefully effect change.
Much later, I worked near her office at UTC. We “ran into each
other often on the street” and there was mutual respect and caring.
At a chance meeting while she was purchasing her six cups of salad at Greenlife Grocery, we shared our “cancerland” stories.
We decided to support each other and met for several months for lunch alternating in our offices and emphasizing nutrition, good health habits and our own concerns for social issues and political issues.
I came to know her as Dorothy. A woman who was called the n word as she walked along the street in Chattanooga as university faculty member. A woman who told our class she had been spat
upon at the corner from our classroom because of the color of
Dorothy as a breast cancer survivor and fellow supporter who
enabled me to understand, as much as anyone can, the impact
cancer had on both of our lives. The robbery by this disease slowed
both our steps. We both fought with waning energy as we walked
Dorothy often spoke of her family, her sisters and especially, her daughter with loving concern and dedication.
I feel the loss of my friend, Dorothy Williams