Dr. Kamala Uzzell Jones was selected the Spectacular Magazine 2017 Woman of the Year in the Civil & Human Rights category. Kamala is Owner/Psychotherapist at her own private practice, SOLAY Counseling & Research Center, P.C. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor. She holds a Ph.D. (2007) from North Carolina State University, a M.A. (1999) – Campbell University and a B.A. (1996) – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The criteria for the Civil & Human Rights category are that the woman must have made substantial and long-term contributions in furtherance of civil rights, civil liberties, and/or human rights; led the development of contemporary measures to fight discrimination and prejudice and the effects of past discrimination; and/or fostered positive intergroup relations among persons of different races, ages, ethnic origin, gender, religious backgrounds, or physical and mental abilities; woman of any race, color or creed who serves the African-American community is eligible.
Recipients of the Spectacular Magazine 2017 Women of the Year were nominated by members of the community. The nominees are narrowed down to three semi-finalists in each category. An on-line voting process affords the public the opportunity to select the recipient. They are named at a Sunday’s Best Spectacular Magazine Women of the Year Awards Gala.
Kamala discusses her mission to provide, protect and fight for equality and her acclaimed work in the mental health field.
Spectacular Magazine (SM): Describe what makes you a successful leader in the area for which you were honored?
Kamala Uzzell Jones (KUJ): I am, and have always been, passionate about Civil and Human Rights. I believe that everyone should be afforded equal opportunity and equal access in all areas of life. One of the goals that I set early in my career and in my personal life was to make sure that at every turn, in whatever role I was in, I was working to provide, protect, and fight for equality. When I founded SOLAY Counseling, I founded it with a mission to provide mental health services to those who might not have historically or otherwise found those types of services to be accessible for whatever reason. Two demographics that I believe have benefited greatly from this mission are the minority and military/veterans populations.
As an adjunct professor and counselor educator, it is my duty to educate aspiring counselors to be compassionate and to advocate on the behalf of groups that have been marginalized and discriminated against. Advocacy is a major part of our job. It becomes who we are.
SM: Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you?
KUJ: There are so many people who have mentored, educated and supported me along the way. I have been blessed to be surrounded by such an exceptionally talented village. Therefore, I won’t burden myself with attempting to name just one, so I’ll answer the question like this: My history, my religion, our ancestors, those who came before me who instilled the belief that “we help one another”, the pledge I made to “serve all mankind’, the notion that “to whom much is given, much is expected” …all of those individuals and ideals I hold near and dear to my heart, all of those have motivated and impacted me as an advocate for my fellow man, as an advocate for civil and human rights, and as a leader.
SM: What problem or condition in your respective field do you want to solve or improve?
KUJ: I want the stigma of mental health in the African-American community to disappear. I would like for the gap in the racial and ethnic demographics of those who seek mental health treatment to close. When we eliminate the stigma, the gap will close, and those individuals’ lives and their family cycles will change for the better.
SM: What legacy would you like to leave behind?
KUJ: The legacy that I would like to leave behind is that I have opened doors, eliminated obstacles, developed minds, supported dreams and made life better for more than a few. In essence, if I have been actively involved in leaving my community and world in a much better place than it was when I arrived, I have done my job. That will be my legacy and it will be one that I would be proud of.
Spectacular Magazine 2017 Women of the Year Awards Gala was sponsored by PNC, Coalesce Beauty, Orange Co/Chapel Hill Visitors Bureau & Carol Woods Retirement Village.
Nominations for the Spectacular Magazine 2017 Man of the Year will open February 5, 2017.
Highlights of Spectacular Magazine 2017 Women of the Year Awards Gala (Photos: Mel Brown):