Alysia Dempsey believes deeply in the importance of acknowledging every person and giving them a voice. Based on that ideal, she founded her company Inspires to promote empathy and compassion, to promote empathy and compassion for others through her global travels and within her local community. Fueled by several chance encounters beginning at the National Museum for African American History and Culture, Alysia’s work has now brought to light the important missions of the Doris Henderson Newcomers School in Greensboro, NC, for immigrants and refugees, and the Pardada Pardadi School for girls in rural Delhi, India. Alysia’s goal is to further develop Inspires to partner with local and global leaders to strengthen our communities and encourage everyone to have a voice.
On Her Next Book(s)
Alysia plans to publish several series of books: Welcome, Explore, Believe and Dream. The Welcome series invites everyone to the table and acknowledges their unique story. The Explore series discovers and captures life around the world. The Believe series encourages young girls globally to believe in their dreams and use their voice to help themselves and others. The Dream series takes young readers on a magical journey to explore the world. The fi rst book in the Explore series will feature New Delhi, India. The fi rst book in the Believe series will feature girls from Pardada Pardadi School in rural India, coming summer 2019.
On Her Passion
In 2018, Alysia went on an amazing journey of empathy with more than 400 people in our community. Flint Hill School, McLean Bible Church, Ford’s Theatre, Fairfax County Police, and many others came on the journey with her to experience our shared history and talk about issues of race in our country at the National African American Museum in Washington, DC. Alysia spoke the words of “Welcome” to every single person who joined her on the journey. She wanted everyone to know that they were all going on the journey of empathy together. “In our country and world today, our children are witnessing hate and divisiveness all around them. In the news, on social media, even in our communities. Future generations look to us for guidance, direction and hope.” As a mother of four daughters, Alysia and her husband Ray have instilled in each of them a desire to find their true purpose and make a difference in the world around them regardless of their race or gender. They have known from an early age that they are loved, and their parents believe in who they are now and who they are destined to be. Like Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
On Her Motivation
Her life purpose is to use her voice to encourage others to find theirs. “Everyone has a unique story. Both young and old we all have experiences that shape who we are today and who we will become tomorrow. We all share qualities that can unite us and enable us to have empathy and compassion for each other.” Alysia wants to help everyone share their unique story and discover that we are more alike than different. “A diverse and inclusive school and work environment encourages everyone to learn from each other’s story. Seeds of empathy, peace, compassion, and love will grow even in times of adversity. When we are taught empathy, we can have empathy for others. When we are taught peace, we can seek to resolve conflict by way of peace. When we are taught compassion, we can have compassion for all regardless of race or religion. When we are taught love, we can have love for all and make a difference in the world around us. When we are taught respect, we can have respect for ourselves and others. Let’s inspire each other to plant seeds of empathy, peace, compassion, love and respect. We will all enjoy the harvest.”
On Being an Author
As a self-published author, Alysia Dempsey is inspired by Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou, and others who have paved the way for her to discover and share her voice. She had the privilege of meeting author Nikki Giovanni at a book signing of “A Good Cry” at Busboys and Poets in 2018. “The way Nikki used her voice and spoke her truth was truly inspiring.” Alysia gave her a copy of her book “Welcome” and Nikki asked her to sign it. It was the very first time Alysia had signed one of her own books. “Words can inspire and encourage someone to use their voice for the good of society and others. They can move us in a way that nothing else can.” She hopes to inspire readers of all ages and cultures with her words. “There are many ways to say welcome but none better than Alysia Dempsey’s book. Share and welcome,” said Nikki.
On Partnering with the Newcomer School
During her journey of empathy at National African American Museum, Alysia met Michael Amend of Doris Henderson Newcomers School. He said, “I know students who would truly benefit from this journey.” Michael started a youth soccer program for immigrant/refugee students at the Newcomer School. Students are nurtured and given one year at Newcomers to transition into the American school system. Alysia decided to visit the school in 2018 and made an authentic connection with both staff and students. The student photos depicted in her fi rst Welcome book are from that visit. One can see the hope and promise of a bright future in each of their eyes. She had the privilege of traveling back to Newcomers School in 2019 and was able to read her Welcome book to the new immigrant and refugee families during parent conferences as it was interpreted in four languages. The happiness on their faces as she read Welcome, brought her so much joy. Alysia told them that there are many others in our nation who feel the same way she does and want to welcome each of them. She looks forward to welcoming Principal Abu Zaeem and the fi rst group of Newcomers student leaders to the museum this June. Alysia wants to show them the struggles that African Americans have gone through and the courage they have shown throughout history to rise above their circumstances and create hope for future generations.
On What’s Next
Alysia will be traveling to Senegal, Africa in July 2019 to inspire young girls for her second Believe series book and capture the beauty of Senegal for her second Explore series book. She is currently partnering with Andy Shallal of Busboys and Poets to welcome people to join her and share their stories monthly at 450 K in Washington, DC. Previously, Alysia had the pleasure of meeting Deb Bogenhuber from Australia at Busboys and Poets, who founded a program called Food Next Door, which works to build communities by bringing refugees and locals together to share food they have planted. Deb has invited Alysia to join her in Australia to partner with her in building community with refugees. In addition, Alysia will continue to welcome everyone to share their stories at her local Starbucks in Oakton, Virginia, monthly. She had an opportunity to welcome guest to share their stories at Starbucks in London, England, in the spring as well. Alysia will continue to partner with schools from early head start classrooms to university classrooms to share her program of empathy. Recently, she partnered with Ms. Allison Ribeiro, Head-start teacher, at Lake Anne Elementary in Reston, Virginia. “Mrs. Dempsey’s message of hope, inspiration, and inclusion supports the mission of FCPS and it is a message we can share beyond our classroom.” She also shared her empathy program with American University graduate students as on online collaborative classroom. Alysia looks forward to expanding her empathy program internationally with the digital platform in addition to traveling worldwide. It is her hope that by sharing our stories we will begin to have empathy and compassion for one another.
For more information, visit iinspires.com.