Honoring Juneteenth 2021 - Regina Thomas, LCPC
This Juneteenth, we want to acknowledge and recognize the historic, systematic injustices and oppressive discrimination that Black Americans continued to face. While we find joy in celebrating the progress that has taken place, we also know there is work to be done. At ERC Pathlight, we want to work in solidarity to be a catalyst for change in our hearts and in our communities, working to build a world where all individuals can live without fear.
As we continue honoring Juneteenth, today we are featuring Regina Thomas, LCPC. Regina shares about why she wants to work in mental health, who inspires her life and career, and what goals she's set for the year ahead.
What does Juneteenth mean to you?
Juneteenth was a well kept secret. I didn’t find out about it until I was well into my adult years. It was not taught to us in school. In fact, I didn’t learn about Juneteenth until the late 1990s while living in Anchorage, Alaska. It was celebrated in mid-June with a fair at the Cultural Arts Center. I never knew until then that there were African Americans still held captive in slavery well after slavery had been abolished, due to ignorance (read into that as you will).
How do you acknowledge and celebrate this historical day each year?
I usually attend a celebratory event held in the community.
Who is your biggest inspiration in life and why?
Martin Luther King, Jr. because he accomplished so much by speaking truth and effectively protesting non-violently in the face danger.
Why do you feel called to work in mental health care?
In light of Juneteenth, I feel that working in mental health care is a way to live out the spirit of Harriet Tubman by leading others out of captivity of thoughts and dictates of negative self-awareness and the stigma of being diagnosed with a mental illness.
How do you support your own mental health and unwind after a long week?
Spending time with family and friends or engaging in self-care activities that are rejuvenating. I’m also actively involved with activities at my church.
What have you learned in the past year about yourself while experiencing the Covid-19 pandemic and the national reckoning around racism in America?
I have a low tolerance for ignorance, but I must be aware of how I respond to others as not to lead them to feel marginalized even if they disregard the mental and emotional wellbeing of others.
What’s one personal goal you have for 2021 that you’re able to share with us?
Enlighten those within my sphere of influence regarding the importance of good mental health.
What would you tell your 18-year-old self that would have better prepared you for your life today?
Don’t take things too seriously, they are subject to change.
What advice would you give to the next generation?
The two most important dates in your life is when you are born and when you discover why.