Meet the team behind DeeDee’s Cry
Founder & Executive Director
Toy Burton is the Founder and Executive Director of two organizations, DeeDee’s Cry and the Roxbury Unity Parade. DeeDee’s Cry was named after her sister, Denita Shayne Morris (DeeDee), who died by suicide when she was twenty-three years old, in 1986. DeeDee’s Cry works to create family and community-friendly spaces, events, and activities about mental health and suicide prevention in communities of color. Toy Burton is also the Founder and Executive Director of the Roxbury Unity Committee/Roxbury Unity Parade which celebrates the culture, diversity and beauty of Roxbury.
Dr. Brandy Brooks
Director of Operations
Brandy Brooks, Ed.D., has worked in the public health/mental health space for more than fifteen years. She is also an adjunct History & Social Sciences professor at a local community college. Brandy recieved her doctoral degree in Education from University of Massachusetts Lowell. She has published and/or presented workshops on suicide and self-inflicted injuries, domestic and sexual violence, bullying, social media, urban and environmental policy, community development and political culture in the United States.
Taniah Sheffield, the niece of DeeDee, has been with DeeDee’s Cry since it’s inception. Taniah has helped lay the foundation of DeeDee’s Cry. As a close cousin to DeeDee’s only son, Branden Morris, and being the daughter of DeeDee’s Cry’s founder, Taniah knows first-hand how suicide affects the whole family.
James W. Hills
James W. Hills, a native of Boston, is a proud graduate of Boston Public School’s Madison Park High School. He honed his community-building skills while attending the University of Massachusetts at Boston and recently graduated from the Non-Profit Management Leadership Certificate Program at the Boston University Questrom School of Business.
In March of 2020, in response to the impact on Black and Brown communities of COVID19, James launched an internet-based talk show or “Vlog-cast” titled #javawithJimmy. “Jimmy” is joined by his viewers and guests for “java” while having organically driven, informative, resourceful, political dialogue with his audience and topic experts, in real-time.