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GLIDE Voices: Roderick Penalosa on Asian American & Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander Month

GLIDE Voices is highlighting Asian American & Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander Month. We asked Clinical Director Roderick Penalosa what GLIDE values resonate with you this month and why?

My family and I migrated from the Philippines to the United States in search of equitable opportunities. The benchmark of success for many immigrants like myself is to thrive in America unscathed and to earn the privilege of American citizenship. The journey towards achieving the American dream comes with social, environmental, and political values that can stifle and oppress our voices and visibility in this country

My race has always been the most prominent marker of my identity, and for an Asian-American who came here as an adolescent, I was incessantly entrenched in the model minority myth – stereotypes that perpetuate the characterization of all Asians as the ideal persons of color to emulate because of our perceived natural capacity to comply, obey, excel, and succeed. This mythical belief is detrimental to our mental health and wellbeing because it takes away our right to be included, counted, and supported, particularly in times of crisis, due to the assumption that we are not susceptible to socio-economic and psychological stress. Many of us in the AAPI community suffer in silence because of the social stigma and shame that comes with help-seeking behaviors.

As an Asian-American, I resonate deeply with the GLIDE values of truth-telling and unconditional compassion. I’m a strong proponent of social justice advocacy that starts with self-responsibility. The courage to show up every day in our most authentic selves, in all circumstances, is a healing form of conveying our truth and an unconditional expression of self-compassion.

Revealing my true nature, even in my helplessness and most vulnerable moments, is an affirmation of my identity as a proud gay Filipino American immigrant man who belongs and deserves to be heard, seen, and recognized in America. Owning my authenticity and capacity to love myself and others is the truth that I share deeply with GLIDE and with humanity. In my role as GLIDE’s Clinical Director, I aspire to redefine the meaning and value of trauma-informed service that is healing-centered and culturally compassionate.”

Roderick Penalosa, PhD, LMFT
GLIDE Clinical Director