Glenn Troy has been a staple of the Boston hip-hop scene for two decades—as a rapper, a show host, and all-around good-natured spirit animal. But while he’s best known for his musical and comedic cultural contributions, for the past several years Troy’s focus outside of the entertainment realm has been on sobriety—his, as well as that of friends and colleagues in the Massachusetts labor community who he helps get and stay clean on the daily.
Joining his son’s mother Elizabeth Haley’s search for an organization that works with families rocked by addiction, the couple found their way to the Dennis Messing Memorial Fund (DMMF), as well as others who helped orchestrate the upcoming first-ever Children of Addicted Parents (CAP) walk planned for Saturday, Oct 5. We asked Troy about their foray into fundraising and the evolving nightmare of modern addiction.
How long have you been in recovery?
How much have you seen things escalate in that time?
It’s getting worse. It’s no longer soft designer drugs or powerful drugs that are made by a big company. We’ve gone through so many eras—the OC era, the heroin era, the fentanyl era. Meanwhile, alcoholism is every era.
Where are you working with people in recovery now?
I’m at the Mass Laborer’s Health & Welfare fund, where I’m one of three sober union members who covers all of laborers and their locals in Massachusetts.
You’ve worn a lot of hats in these parts. Tell us a little bit about your organizing hat.
This is the first walk I’ve ever done. It’s the vision of my son’s mother Elizabeth [Haley]. We were talking last October, and she said that she wanted to volunteer her time for the families who are so affected by addiction. Since I work in the recovery field, where such places could be found to volunteer, I started looking and we couldn’t really come up with anything. There’s tons of services for addicts to get into drug- and alcohol-related treatment, but there’s not a lot for the family.
What help have you had along the way?
I was at an event where [Boston Mayor] Marty Walsh was, and I was talking to him about this. He put me in contact with Brendan Little at [the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services], and he mentioned Amy Busch of the Dennis Messing Memorial Fund (DMMF). I spoke with her and found out they have a whole program just for kids, because if someone loses their mother or father to drugs or in a drunk-driving accident, they’re often financially burdened. How do they pay for all of this stuff? They help with everything from school supplies to camp and dance lessons. It was what Elizabeth had been thinking about, so we decided to start doing some fundraising for them. And the more we talked about it, the more people we talked to, and then the Claddagh Fund jumped on as the main sponsor, and the next thing you know we’re pulling permits.
What’s the walk going to look like?
It’s going from Central Square in Cambridge over the Mass Ave Bridge and then into the Boston Common. Both cities are heavily affected by drugs and alcohol, and most have a deep sense of community. Families have been torn apart, and they’ve also been brought back together.
What’s the unifying message?
Things can get better.
The First Annual CAP Walk will take place on Sat 10.5. Registration starts at 9:15am at University Park (65 Sidney St.) in Cambridge and the walk will end at the Boston Common bandstand at noon.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.