A Letter on Racism & Social Advocacy
By: Alena M Scigliano, Owner of Coastal Light Counseling
Friday, June 5th, 2020
We had a Process Hour today for our therapists to be able to lean on one another for support, during what has been a very difficult week for many Americans and what proved to be increasingly emotional for our counselors, as they were present for their patients who were experiencing heart wrenching moments of grief and anxiety.
During this hour I shared that one of my concerns this week was not knowing how to address current events, as the owner & spokesperson for our counseling practice. I struggle with the idea of jumping on bandwagons due to the lack of sincerity that it can indicate. I don’t participate in Social Media outside of the practice, but some of the things my husband shared with me that were being said by white friends and acquaintances on social media this week felt very insincere and as though they were now making a sacred battle for equality all about themselves. It felt hypocritical, patronizing, demeaning, and seemed like just another form of microaggressive racism. I was afraid of representing the practice in this way, because that is not who we are.
During our Process Hour, Melody very wisely reminded me to pray for guidance. After beginning to read a Kroger email, of all things, I remembered to follow through on her suggestion. As I continued to read the email, I was impressed and moved by the words that the CEO of Kroger shared and how he took ownership of his responsibility to incite change, as the leader of a major corporation. His message was humble, empathic, hopeful, & inspiring.
I closed the email and moved on to the next one, which was from my church. I noticed that the subject line did not reference anything about racism, justice, Black Lives Matter, etc., and I scanned the body of the email to see what I could find that would speak to the horrors and inspirations we had just seen on the news tonight. As I found nothing, my heart sank, and all I felt was disappointment. I don’t want to disappoint others who look to us for guidance or inspiration, as I have now been disappointed. It was at this moment that I knew God was communicating to me that it was okay to speak up, even though I hadn’t done so publicly before. I have shared all of these details to make it abundantly clear that the following words are not hollow. They are true and meaningful.
So with that in mind, I want to declare to the world that I, as an individual, and Coastal Light Counseling, as an organization, completely and passionately condemn any form of racism. Coastal Light Counseling will exemplify the ideals of the Black Lives Matter revolution as best as we possibly can, while empathically acknowledging that many of us do so from a place of white privilege and can never fully understand the struggles everyone outside of our race faces.
As we continue our mission to be accepting, loving, and kind to each person we serve, regardless of race or differences in background, we will focus more on the impact we can have on the world by advocating not only for our patients but for the black community as a whole, as well as other underprivileged groups & individuals.
We love each person who reaches out to us, but we can do a better job of showing that. We commit to listening to those who are wiser than us, the ones who have lived through daily, oppressive fear; and we commit to taking action, not just talking about it. We commit to holding the rest of the world accountable for equal treatment of our fellow humans who look different from us.
Join us in standing for others. Join us in holding each other accountable. Join us in being the loving hands and feet we were created to be.