A couple is holding hands while walking

Honoring Juneteenth 2021 - Adrienne Little, MA

Adrienne Little

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.

Today, Adrienne Little, MA, talks about what Juneteenth means to her, who inspires her life, and what she's learned in the past year.

What does Juneteenth mean to you?

It is a celebration of freedom for African American people. We still have so much more to do to be truly free in this country, but I believe that Black joy is an act of resistance. So, we have to find ways to celebrate each of our victories, both big and small.

How do you acknowledge and celebrate this historical day each year?

I just started celebrating Juneteenth with my family a few years ago. We eat soul food, talk about the holiday and its significance, and just enjoy each other’s company.

Who is your biggest inspiration in life and why?

I would say my grandmother. She was a force to be reckoned with in a time during which women were to be seen and not heard. She always spoke her truth and was an entrepreneur, mom, friend, first lady (to my Grandfather who oversaw 100 Black churches) and grandmother.

Why do you feel called to work in mental health care?

I was first drawn in by the desire to have a career that was not boring or a desk job. Since then, I have become more interested in providing quality care to people from all socioeconomic statuses and particularly minoritized communities.

How do you support your own mental health and unwind after a long week?

I like to paint and sometimes take drawing or acrylic classes. I also love to cook. I barbeque once a week, rain, snow, or heat. I mainly love to gather friends and family and enjoy talking about the day or week to relax.

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 learned that social responsibility begins at home. I spent more time educating my children and friends about racism in America. COVID made for a captive audience! I used this time to explore the tough issues with my African American friends and my white allies.

What’s one personal goal you have for 2021 that you’re able to share with us?

I am a pre-doctoral intern, so my big goal is to get my Psy.D. and join the tiny minority of Black psychologists.

What is one thing not many people know about you that may surprise them?

I have an entrepreneurial spirit just like my granny and have owned two businesses and rental property.

What would you tell your 18-year-old self that would have better prepared you for your life today?

Always pursue excellence. Show up as the very best version of yourself every day.

What advice would you give to the next generation?

I would say that lifestyle design is more important than career choice. Think of how you want to spend your days, what material things are important to you, and what educational debt you are willing to accrue. Then you should work backward to find a path for yourself.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Only that Juneteenth is a beautiful day that deserves to be a national holiday.