Demetria Murphy opens up about her transformation, activism: 'She truly believes what she's doing'

Monique John Image
Thursday, March 21, 2024
Demetria Murphy opens up about her transformation, activism
"I always knew this was what I wanted to do."

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Fayetteville's Demetria Murphy says she started out in humble beginnings. She was incarcerated at a young age for possession of controlled substances. But when she got out of prison in 2010, she says she was determined to turn her life around.

"When you have a case manager to tell you your dreams are too big because you're a felon, I'm a show you how big my dreams can really get," Murphy said.

Murphy said she found support in her church community and leveraged her hairstyling business to draw food donations to the church. The relationships she built doing that then started advancing her dream of becoming a social worker.

"I always knew this was what I wanted to do, but God had to take me to all this other stuff to make me better at what I'm doing," she said.

Then Murphy started working with the Fayetteville Police Department to boost gun violence education and re-entry support for the formerly incarcerated.

"She truly believes what she's doing," said Assistant Chief Robert Ramirez of Fayetteville Police. "She is unique. It's not that everybody can do that. She was able to be brought in, sit down, listen, and engage us with evidence-based facts about how the community is dealing with problems and it helps us out."

"Your voice is a law changer," Murphy said. "And so all of that drives why I do reentry, why I do gun violence, community violence, community engagement, bridging the gap between the community and the police."

Murphy went on to earn a Master's Degree at NC State focusing on opioid abuse intervention, recovery, and prevention. She is now earning a Doctorate in criminal justice leadership. But she still finds time to run her therapy clinic, De'vine Infinity Therapeutic Service, and support those touched by gun violence.

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Murphy has been consulting with the family of Jenesis Dockery as they've been pursuing legislation to mitigate gun violence. The Dockery family lost their daughter, Jenesis, to a shooting incident in 2023.

"I believe (Murphy's) effect in this community will be resounding," Fon Dockery, the father of Jenesis Dockery, said.

He said Murphy has been critical in lending her expertise in engaging with politicians, understanding legislation, and articulating their needs and goals as a family to lawmakers.

"And here's the biggest thing about it," Dockery said, "She's not begging to be on the front of the flier. She's not begging to be the naming of your credits. She ain't even begging for you to bring the bank. What she's doing is so genuine and so needed."

"She is a vital piece in Fayetteville-Cumberland County. They know that her heart is for this community," said Georgeanna Pinckney, the CEO of Greater Life of Fayetteville. "And I think it will be a great change that will come about because of her heart."

Murphy said she leans on her roots to keep her grounded in her work.

"I'm sustaining off the prayers of my grandmother," she said. "I'm sustaining off the prayers of, you know, generations before me that loved me and saw something better for me that I didn't see for me."

In April, Murphy is sponsoring a career expo through her clinic, De'vine Infinity Therapeutic Service with Fayetteville Tech to provide career opportunities for the formerly incarcerated.

Organizers said they are looking for employers to sign up. Anyone looking to support can contact Murphy through social media.