Remembering Paulette Hines

To the Family Therapy Community We want to let the community know that we have lost our beloved Paulette Moore Hines, our friend, colleague and “life mate” for many decades, with whom we worked and laughed, and struggled over how to change ourselves, our communities, and our world. She made so much difference in our lives and did so much to strengthen us and make us better people. Paulette has now become one of our ancestors. Saying her name aloud keeps her at the table so we can talk with her. She is on our side for all eternity. We are grateful to have her wisdom and strength as our ancestral angel.  With so much love from us at the Multicultural Family Institute: Monica McGoldrick, Nydia Garcia Preto, Charlesetta Sutton, Barbara Petkov and Sueli Petry A quote from Paulette from Revisioning Family Therapy: “We…can find guidance regarding how to protect and heal our bruised spirits by turning to the wisdom of our ancestors, through whatever means this knowledge has been preserved…We…can be empowered by reaching into and beyond ourselves and tapping our cultural legacies. “ Paulette Moore Hines, PhD There is no one you would rather have in your corner when you are at the most complex, difficult, trying moments of your life than Paulette Moore Hines. She had the most dazzling ability to keep her feet on the ground and her heart open to others’ needs, personal stress, and pain, while staying focused on the task at hand. She could manage an immediate conflict with phenomenal diplomacy, while thinking up three levels to what an organization could do to transform itself to create a more responsive context for tomorrow’s children’s education and to prevent problems years down the road. She could remain diplomatic, strategic and loving in the tightest, most polarized discussion, while never retreating from the hard realities that need to be addressed. She lived out her beliefs with all who knew her. Paolo Freire once said that while seeking the deepest why of his pain he was educating his hope. For Paulette, seeking the deepest why of her pain meant educating the hope of all of us. Her ability to maintain and spread hope has been a deep inspiration for all of us who knew her for many decades. Dr. Paulette Hines was a visionary and collaborative change leader for her whole career. Brilliant, loving and committed, she had a deep sense of caring for people, especially the disenfranchised, for whom she worked tirelessly from the beginning of her career in the 1970s. She saw clearly the work that needed to be done and strove always to draw others together to support individuals, families, communities, and larger systems- including AFTA to function in a more healthy and just way. She did not let herself become distracted by others unwitting lack of appreciation.  She would joke about being repeatedly called by the wrong name or being the one expected to initiate the conversation about race, even when she was the only person of color in a group. She was an extremely effective President for AFTA during her term and for many years before and after she struggled to help the organization become more equitable. She never stopped trying, to help people recognize how white supremacy blinds us to the context in which we are operating, and what we can do to help transform our lives, our relationships, our organizations and our society. She never stopped believing that together we can make the difference and pull ourselves forward toward a more equitable world. Her commitment to develop collaborative support for those who have been kept at the margins was daunting. She worked within our Mental Health complex with many of us, Charlee Sutton, Nydia Garcia Preto, Monica McGoldrick and many other family therapists for decades, and she persevered, working from within, when we peeled off, staying so she could continue trying to draw resources from a large and wealthy medical organization to create innovative programs to help struggling families and communities. She made tremendous efforts, more than anyone will ever realize, to help minorities connect or stay connected there and at AFTA. But she never stopped worrying that she hadn’t gone far enough or had left some stone unturned. At the same time, she expended more energy than any of us can ever appreciate to connect with those of us who are part of the dominant groups in our organizations and in our society, to diplomatically connect with us and coach us toward better collaboration for everyone’s sake. Her caring and commitment came from deep within her. Her grandfather, a Baptist minister, used to say to her, “Never say you can’t.” And she was listening. She never said “Can’t.” And, as she often put it, “It’s not about being grandiose. It’s about keeping on keeping on.” How often we all heard her repeat: “When life knocks you down, land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up.” This expression is so typical of the humor and the perseverance of how our Summa Cum Laude friend lived her life and concentrated on the many challenging aspects of the change she always sought to accomplish. Paulette’s commitment was always to working with vulnerable populations, swimming uptide and walking into the wind. She never took the easy road. Her commitment was to changing the world one person, one family, one friend, one community and one organization at a time, never forgetting those she was supporting to keep up their hope and find their sources of resilience so they could pick themselves up for one more day. She struggled hard on a daily basis with the misjudgments of others, who often chose her to have a person of color in the room rather than because they really cared what she had to say. But she stayed at the table and she kept working at collaboration. The real power of her contribution to our field was her collaboration with … Read more

South Africa

South Africa March 11-21 2023 AFRICA IN MY BLOOD   “Welcome Home “I heard as we arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa. I felt the warmth of that welcome in my soul and tears in my eyes.  Coming home to the Cradle of Life, to my roots in Africa. I had not expected to feel such strong emotion! I traveled with Conrad in a group tour organized by WBGO 98.3 the 24 hour Jazz station in Newark, NJ. Most of us in our 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Most of us African Americans, some Whites, and one other Puerto Rican. It was a friendly group, many going to Africa for the first time. Leaving Newark at night and arriving to Johannesburg in the morning, having lost six hours had all 62 of us somewhat disoriented after 15 hours in a plane. We boarded two buses, met our guides, the trip coordinators and the bus drivers.       Touring Johannesburg began right away with an abbreviated history of the city and a lot of information about the different neighborhoods we drove through pointing out important sites, hospitals, universities, wealthy neighborhoods, as well as very poor areas. I was struck by the number of bridges crisscrossing the city, joining neighborhoods, but especially the Mandela Bridge. Built to join two neighborhoods, Alexandra, an extremely poor neighborhood and Sandton, a very wealthy suburb, the bridge is resplendent! This is a bridge for pedestrians, bicycles, and motor traffic, and as we cross to reach our hotel in Sandton the contrast between wealth and poverty is palpable reflecting the legacy of Apartheid and the ongoing inequality and racism in the country. Not so different from what we experience in this country.   As I take in the surroundings I imagine my ancestors living in Africa before being enslaved and brought to Puerto Rico. I envision them being transported to the island in Spanish or Portuguese ships to be sold or traded. What were their names? Where did they come from? What about their families? What happened to those who were left behind! Were they captured at the beginning of the slave trade or towards the end? I hold them in my heart. The next day we visited Soweto and were overwhelmed by the history of Apartheid and the revolution, the violence, those who were killed or imprisoned, and the fight for freedom. So many tributes to Mandela and to those who lost their lives. There was so much energy in the streets filled with tourists and performers, and students in their uniforms carrying their books. I looked at their faces and wondered about how their lives have been affected by the history of Soweto, the revolution, the killing of youth in the street.           Feeling grief, sadness and anger after visiting the Apartheid Museum, we left Johannesburg and Soweto behind. About four hours later after a rest stop, we arrived at the Pilanesberg Reserve. Beautiful Ivory Lodge welcomed us with drumming and refreshments. We got settled in our individual cottage and quickly left for our first Safari. Our guide Brian, an Africaner, whose family has been in South Africa for generations was waiting for us ready to take us on an adventure. It was the first time for me and Conrad as well as for many others in our group of about 50 people (?). We divided in smaller groups of ten each with a different guide and drove out into the preserve.           I love adventure and this topped my list!! I was excited to see Elephants, Giraffes, Zebras, Lions, Rhinoceros, Hippos and other smaller animals as well as birds. Exuberant sunsets and sunrises out in the wild, alert to movement, noises, eager to spot one of the big 5. With my heart filled with excitement and wishing that I could remain in this wonderful place we took a plane to Cape Town, our final destination. I had heard a lot about the splendor of Cape Town and was ready for  the music we  were all looking forward to. South African Jazz! But, there was so much more awaiting us. What a magical place! We arrived just in time to have something to eat and go to our first concert at one of the oldest theaters in Cape Town. What a treat! Our own Lezlie Hutchinson, one of the trip’s co-hosts and a Jazz singer performed with a couple of the groups. Very exciting!! We toured some of the city and learned about it’s history and it’s people, the diverse cultures and different languages.  And then we experienced  the  big highlight in Cape Town, Table Top Mountain! The views were magnificent although there was a lot of mist that day. It felt as if we were walking on the clouds. The next few days we toured the coast and went through very wealthy towns by the sea as well as very poor and isolated neighborhoods with limited access to the ocean or resources. The blend of forest and ocean with mountains in the background was beautiful. Standing at a light house at the top of a cliff I saw the merging of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans where the ships were able to navigate from one continent to another. One of the most well known routes went from the north-western and western coasts of Africa to South America and the south-east coast of what is today the United States, and the Caribbean. They  traded spices and human beings not only from Africa but from other countries. I thought about my ancestors in chains on their way to Puerto Rico. How did they survive? Cape Town is one of nature’s treasures! I had no idea that there were African penguins living by the sea in a preserve who often leave to visit the neighborhood and people find them in their yards and kitchens. They are free in nature and, like the lions, giraffes, elephants and others, feel free … Read more