Photo by Shane Rounce

Christian Counseling Center’s Dream

by Theresa Samuel-Boko

Every January, we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Reverend King spent his life fighting racism and injustice. He made a difference in the lives of countless people, and his legacy lives on in the work of those who seek to build a world where all people are treated with dignity. His legacy reminds us of our work here at Christian Counseling Center, where we create inclusive and connected communities through healing.

For decades, Christian Counseling Center has been on the forefront of serving the larger community in the San Jose area, both through its broad clinical expertise and its connections to churches and schools. Through its work, Christian Counseling Center helps build an inclusive community.

What is an “inclusive community?” It is defined as “a community where its members feel safe, respected, and comfortable in being themselves and expressing all aspects of their identities. It is a place where each person shares a sense of belonging with its members.” It is home.

I know some things about our Center: I know about the strong family spirit that the staff members encompass. I also know about the sense of belonging that is strongly felt by each member of the team. I know the strong faith that the community has. From my experience during the past couple of months, I see it! So please take a minute and look around you; look at the therapists at Christian Counseling Center and you may notice that each and every team member gives their best in order to help heal and elevate people’s lives.

This is a new year! A couple of weeks ago we thought about our New Year’s resolutions: getting through COVID, helping more clients, going on vacation once the pandemic ends.

Let MLK Day be our New Year once again and let us make resolutions to continue the work that MLK started. How much do we think of his message of inclusiveness? How can we be intentional about it? And how can we practice it within our communities?

Is it reaching out and getting to know someone else who is different from you? Is it turning your camera on during staff meetings and wearing a warm smile? Let’s be intentional to connect with people who have different backgrounds and different beliefs. Reach out to talk about the things that others care about as well as their dreams and goals. Take a seat at the table. Learn how to listen. Have those wonderful and sometimes difficult conversations. Discover joy, share pain, and work at being more curious and less defensive.

In closing, I want to share MLK’s reminder that there is always hope if we have the will. His hope in 1963 when he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and said, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed … that all men are created equal; that we will fight stereotypes and prejudices and people will not be judged by the color or their skin but by the content of their character; that little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” We will continue the good work we do here at Christian Counseling Center, and work together on our “dream:” to continue building our center as an inclusive community, where we all feel respected and connected to one another.