A couple is holding hands while walking

Honoring Juneteenth 2021 - Kelly Maebane

Kelly Maebane

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.

Up next, Kelly Maebane shares about her greatest influencer, what she's learned about living through the past year, and what advice she has for the next generation.

What does Juneteenth mean to you?

Recognition of our descendants of true royalty. Thousands of Kings and Queens who suffered while fighting for their rightful freedom. Now teaching others while reflecting on the factual history to the present of who we were and who we are now. Unity and acceptance are where we should be.

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

Walk in the light of its meaning. To thank our strong ancestors for all the pain and struggle they endured to pave the way for future generations to keep building from.

Who is your biggest inspiration in life and why?

Maya Angelou. She has experienced the most pain that a woman can be destroyed by and yet she pushed forward. Fighting her way to an imaginable positive mental health and an inspiration for ALL women. She has shared her strength by reaching to very large audience of people who need to remember who they are, how to treat others, and believe in the person they are meant to be.

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

It actually found me. I was meant to be a part of the bigger and smaller overall picture as it affects me as a person and opened my mind to understanding others more my deeply that I might not have been exposed to if I were not in this field. Knowledge is always power plus the decision to positively act upon such knowledge. Now the call has created a path to do whatever is necessary to support the patients through all other disciplines that are with them day to day.

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

Talk with my family, gym, movies and friends.

What have you learned in the past year about yourself while experiencing the Covid-19 pandemic and the national reckoning around racism in America?

To stay woke. You never know the truth of what people are thinking or feeling. Even the ones that have been close to you. I am half disappointed and half proud. Disappointed by the evidence of truth through videos capturing a reasonable amount of the population’s thoughts and actions of racism. Proud of the ones who believe, love, and stand for what is right for all. My family is multiracial, and the blessing was being part of unconditional love for all ethnicities. COVID-19 is a test for us to self-learn on what we truly believe in and level of faith in ourselves and others.

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

To do more self-reflection and rebuild family relationships.

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

I am a fair skinned black woman and I am dismissed very often because of what another may see. Sadly, it has become more apparent over the last year based on the conversations around me. I pray that even though it is not a priority in life to prove this fact about me but for those to be more conscious of those around them.

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

Nothing. I would not change anything, or it could change the blessings of how I got to this point.

What advice would you give to the next generation?

Ask yourself positively, “Why wouldn’t I?” Life is about the choices that you make. No one but you can make the decision to be successful, do right by everyone, accept others for how they are, teach others on things that they may not know, lead by example, and love each other as we are all a part of each other. Again, ask yourself, “Why wouldn’t I?”

Anything else you’d like to add?

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."