Celebrating Diversity: Embracing Our Heart of Inclusion

Celebrating Diversity

June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and their ongoing fight for equality.

Here at SouthLight, we believe that diversity, equality and inclusion goes beyond celebration – it’s about creating a safe and welcoming space for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, or any other factor.

We stand with the LGBTQ+ community this Pride Month and every month, and we invite everyone to join us on our journey towards a more inclusive and supportive future. So what does that look like at SouthLight?

Inclusion isn’t just about opening our doors; it’s about opening our minds and hearts. Join us as we delve into the voices of our staff and clients, each sharing their unique perspectives on what inclusion means to them and why it’s a core pillar of our organizational culture.

What inclusion means to SouthLight employees

“Inclusion to me means celebrating, supporting, and treating clients with empathy no matter gender, race, or disability. I want to treat people the same way I want to be treated.” —Philisa Charity, Peer Support Specialist

“To be a part of the situation in the client’s recovery here at SouthLight, letting the clients know that we are here for them from the beginning of their walk, sharing their dreams and hopes of accomplishment on this journey.” —Sharon Randolph, Admin Assistant

“Inclusion means that we are aware and we notice another and that they feel seen. I believe that it’s when we support each other in our vulnerabilities that we feel we can share and be accepted and seen.”

—Amanda Marriner, Medical Services Coordinator

“Inclusion, to me, is being warmly welcomed by my new team and feeling like I’m a part of the family. It’s my coworkers and superiors respecting me as a person and not just seeing me as one label or another. I feel included when I witness efforts being made to not leave people feeling othered for their identity, whatever that identity may be. Inclusivity will always be an ongoing process, but it’s a process that starts with safety and acceptance for who I am and who I aim to be.” —Ian Hope, Peer Support Specialist

“Inclusion means to me breaking barriers and just remembering that everybody is not the same, but you fit in right where you are, and we’ve got to meet people right where we are just like that”

—Sharice Danzy, Nurse

“Inclusion to me means giving everybody a place at the table” —Maxx Dempsey, Peer Support Services Program Supervisor

“When I think about inclusion, I think about acceptance. I think about belonging. I think about a celebration of differences amongst people. I think about a curiosity to learn about another person’s story and experience and interests and to show genuine interest in whatever it is that they’re sharing with you.” —Bethany Pfitzenmaier, Clinical Training Director

“I consider myself part of an organization that prides themselves on providing equal access to mental health care services, resources, and a safe space for all people in our community. SouthLight provides a judgment-free zone to all our clients and staff.”

—Jessica Martin, Intake Specialist

“When I think about inclusion, I think about intention, about being really intentional about who is present when we’re having conversations and making decisions, like just being really mindful of that, everyone that we can think of and a lot of the ones that we don’t are present.” —Dr. Letitia Hazel, SouthLight Chief Medical Officer

How Our Clients Describe Inclusion

“Not being judged or stereotyped.” —SouthLight Client

“Being included means a lot to me because it makes me feel valued and like my presence matters, and is important not only for myself, but what I can bring to the table for others.” —SouthLight Client

“Not being judged or stereotyped.” —SouthLight Client

“It lets me know and feel that I’m not living life and fighting addiction by myself. Whenever I’m here, I’m treated like family: smiles, hellos, and hugs.” —SouthLight Client

“What inclusion means to me is walking up and having people know my name and what I’ve got going on, and feeling good telling someone. —SouthLight Client

Take Action—What’s Important to You?

We want to know—what’s important to you? Share your thoughts and experiences through our short survey to help us continue building a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.