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Honoring Juneteenth 2021 - Marguerite Ford, RN

Marguerite Ford

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 we're introducing you to Marguerite Ford, RN, who shares about what this honorary day means to her, why she feels called to work in mental health, and what advice she has for the next generation.

What does Juneteenth mean to you?

Enslaved people in the state of Texas were freed two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was passed in 1863.

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

If I’m not working, I try and find local celebrations or events. If not, I always celebrate in remembering the contributions of Black people, their struggles, oppression and contributions to the American culture that is often times disregarded and not adequately acknowledged.

Who is your biggest inspiration in life and why?

My biggest inspiration in life is my mother who passed away in 2019. Knowing the personal struggles she went through as a Black woman in America raising three children, growing up in the Civil Rights era and experiencing firsthand discrimination as a child and even as an adult in her career field. She has always taught me to strive for the best, work hard and always treat others as I would like to be treated.

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

I enjoy working in the mental health field because although it always comes with challenges, the rewards outweigh the difficult times. I have a personal family connection with the mental health population.

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

I definitely like to take full advantage of my time off. I do yoga, walks around the lake, hang out with friends and my husband, shopping, cooking, traveling and just enjoy being outdoors.

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 feel like I have become more anxious during COVID and more conscious about being in public to protect myself regarding the pandemic. I feel that the Black Lives Matter movement is bringing more awareness to the ongoing issues of racism in America. In the new age of social media, it is just now more publicized but racism in America will continue to be present, unfortunately.

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

More self-care this year; I do not want to be consumed by negativity so just doing more of the things I enjoy most.

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

I have served in the armed forces for eight years.

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

Explore and travel as much as you can to experience life and culture outside of my own.

What advice would you give to the next generation?

Limit your social media.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I think this is a great activity for staff; it allows us to get to know a little about each other. We work side-by-side with each other but never really get acquainted on a personal level.