Happy Halloween

A Message from Our CEO

IMG_8376 _2_.jpg

Dear AMAAD Friends and Family,

If you have received and read what I have previously written in the monthly AMAAD On the Move e-newsletter, you know that: 1) I’m a Black gay man; 2) I’m innately a feminist, and 3) I’m an advocate for peer-based mental health support. 

And you also so know that I am proud of each of these identities. With October representing: 1) National Coming Out Day, 2) Women’s History Month, and 3) Mental Illness Awareness Week, I’d be remised if I didn’t acknowledge and reflect on the importance of each of these occasions for awareness. Please join us at the AMAAD Institute and take some time to reflect on why these issues are essential. I ask that you consider engaging your family and colleagues in purposeful discussion to highlight why these awareness issues may be of importance to us all. I invite you to please read to learn what some AMAAD staff members have to say below.

Dr. Carl Highshaw

CEO and Founder


The HIV.E is Here! Ending The HIV Epidemic


The HIV.E (HIV Education & Empowerment) is the core group name established under the Ending HIV Epidemic Project Initiative in Los Angeles, County. The HIV.E is a direct-action program designed for advocates using community power and knowledge as tools to advocate, engage, and mobilize communities most impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Through this incentivized collaboration, the HIV.E will work together on the implementation of local strategies to achieve the multiple EHE goals and will incorporate and reflect a broad range of perspectives, including evidence-based programming, community organizing, public health, epidemiology, health care delivery, and financing, and alternative health care delivery models (e.g., street medicine), among other areas. The HIV.E will bring in new voices and partnerships to end the epidemic and emphasize health equity and social justice.

The roles and responsibilities of HIV.E cohort members are as follows:

  • Commit to serving a 12-month term starting January 2022 to develop strategies and lead community engagement and education projects

  • Attend required training, meetings, and calls during the term (virtual and in-person)

  • Reside in Los Angeles County 

  • Participate in the initiation of two institutional/structural change projects (at least 1 per cohort)

The HIV.E offers peer-to-peer support and social and educational events designed to improve the health and wellbeing of the growing population of individuals affected by HIV by addressing stigma, social isolation, social support, connection, and empowerment through: 

  • Discussion Groups- Social support groups that provide spaces for safe conversation, building friendships, and emotional support.

  • Skills Building - Transferrable technical and creative skills to strengthen capacity and leadership opportunities.

  • Health Education- Increase knowledge and awareness among LAC communities of HIV and HIV-related issues, including populations disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS.

  • Community Building- The HIV.E is taking various steps to engage the community through partnerships, activities, and participation.

The HIV.E’s mission is to educate, test, treat, support, and prevent new HIV infections in Los Angeles County by: 

  • Improving access to care
  • Providing exceptional, cost-effective, and culturally competent care
  • Growing the number of people served
  • Partnering with other organizations to ensure the delivery of comprehensive services to promote health and wellness

To participate, request an application, or for questions or more information, please email our team at EHE-AMAAD@amaad.org 

Jamar Moore

Sr. Project Manager


The Women of imPACT: Women's History Month

Screen Shot 2021-10-12 at 3.15.03 PM.png

"In the behavioral health world, a clinician with lived-experience is rarely heard of! The AMAAD Institute gave me the ability to not only find my passion but solidify my purpose. As the Behavioral Health Therapist for the Project imPACT team, I collaborate with two strong Black women who understand the importance of cultural empathy. Marvinette Columbus, Program Manager for Project imPACT Watts, brings passion, knowledge, partnerships, and realness! Tyler Smith, Attorney with Project imPACT Watts, brings attention to detail, determination, transparency, and relatability to the team which helps to decrease the stigma that comes with criminal attorneys."

"Defining goals, employment readiness, bringing awareness to generational curses, breaking down systemic barriers, and implementing healthy skills to help with the decrease of recidivism are the goals for our program. Project imPACT has given me -- a woman who thought she had no voice-- the ability to educate, empower, and encourage my colleagues, clients, and community. I tell my participants that I’m here to help them find their purpose, but I also often share that AMAAD helped me find mine!"

Lanelle Laws, MFT, LMFT

Behavioral Health Therapist


Screen Shot 2021-10-12 at 3.14.22 PM.png

"I believe in second chances, and I don’t think someone should have to carry the burden of their past mistakes with them in every aspect of their life, especially where they are just trying to survive and achieve stability."

Tyler Smith, Attorney

Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles

imPACT Watts

Screen Shot 2021-10-12 at 3.13.48 PM.png

"Helping people is my passion and I enjoy seeing others succeed. I make sure our clients understand that I will ride for them, but I will also ride on them, if I feel they are in the wrong or are losing focus. I believe in tough, yet teachable love."

Marvinette Columbus, Program Manager


imPACT Watts

Would you prefer an event in November or December ?
November (Thanksgiving Theme)
December (Christmas / Kwanzaa Theme)

National Recovery Month 2021 Recap


Recovery week recap video



"I Recovered All" Recovery Documentary 👇🏾

In honor of National Recovery Month, the AMAAD Institute celebrated the lived experiences of our recovery community members. AMAAD highlighted their commitment and dedication to maintaining sobriety, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Our recovery community continues to shine and the AMAAD Institute plans to continue to support that,” says Youth Health & Wellness Manager, Darnell Green. AMAAD’s goal for National Recovery Month was to create safe spaces virtually and in-person to ensure that no one in the community would be excluded. September's recovery conversations were not just geared to those in substance use recovery, but also for those who support individuals in recovery. 

Our National Recovery Month events started on September 8th with our Wellness Wednesday virtual Zoom discussing the impact of substance use in the Black and Latinx community. Other events in September included our Resilient Solutions “Free at Last” recovery group, a BBQ event at the Edward Vincent Park, and "I Recovered All," a lived experience documentary video premiere and live screening. Through events like this, AMAAD is committed to raising awareness on the importance of seeking and connecting to recovery resources and education.   

The final event in our National Recovery Month series was hosted at Vision Church of Los Angeles on Sunday, September 26th. The event provided a spiritual reconnection followed by a hosted brunch. 

Spirituality is one of the re-occurring themes that many people experiencing substance use often mention as a part of their recovery journey. AMAAD honors that spiritual connection, creating and supporting various safe spaces for healing. Green shares further, “Black and Latinx communities have to find a way to normalize substance use recovery conversations and understand the impact that lack of knowledge has had on us all.” 

To get connected to any of our events or our team, call 323-569-1610, email chris@amaad.org, visit www.amaad.org or follow us on Instagram at @amaad_institute.

Darnell Green

Manager of Programs


October Program Calendar

Screen Shot 2021-09-30 at 2.29.40 PM.png
Visit our LinkTree (Click Here)

AMAAD Policy Alliance Kicks Butts!

Screen Shot 2021-09-30 at 3.26.12 PM.png

In honor of National Kick Butts Day (October 11), the AMAAD Policy Alliance (APA) has done just that! From Phase 1 to Phase 4, goals have been set and accomplished on the fight against outdoor area secondhand smoke exposure. The APA has been a force in the City of Hawthorne, taking to the streets educating and informing residents about secondhand smoke and recently creating a YouTube promo video capturing that work. The APA presented public comment to the Hawthorne City Council on August 10, 2021; Councilmember Angie Reyes-English then invited AMAAD to give a presentation to the City Council on August 24, 2021, with virtual Townhall Series entitled “Let Me Breathe” for the City of Hawthorne.

On September 7, 2021, APA was invited to have a one-on-one meeting with Councilmember Alex Monteiro in an effort to further the city's efforts. APA joined the Hawthorne Farmers' Market for several events, informing the community on smoke exposure. While tabling at a recent event, APA was invited to represent at the Hawthorne World Fest Celebration. Hawthorne Mayor Pro Tem Olivia Valentine was excited about the work APA has been doing and invited the AMAAD Institute to host an event at the Hawthorne Teen Center as well as participate with the Hawthorne Business Expo. On September 18, 2021, at the World Festival, the APA was invited by Michael Ishii, Hawthorne Chief of Police to present to the Hawthorne Police Department. The AMAAD Policy Alliance has been kicking butt and excited for more great work to come!

To join AMAAD's APA efforts or for more information, contact Tyrone Thompson at tyrone@amaad.org!

Tyrone Tompson

Policy Coordinator


👇🏾 Hawthorne's Townhall Press Release 👇🏾

National Coming Out Day


"A Journey to Remember " -- a poem

Take my hand and walk with me as we Journey down this path called life.

This path with intersections, detours, and Pivotal moments have shaped who I am.

Moments like me coming out! 

What does that even mean? I am who I am.

Did I come out and tell the world I am Black? No!

It was known, and I was feared, loved, denied, and embraced. I am Black.

I had to tap into my sexuality and not fall into the norm of heterosexuality,

So I choose to come out. The LGBTQ+ community accepts me,

And I waive the pride flag proudly.

Generations who came out before I did,

Were not received by the community like it is now.

We were walking down the street in fear of living in your truth.

Today we don’t have to use codes

Or wear clothing to help us find out who is same-gender-loving.

We walk upon the blood, sweat, and tears of the greats that came before us,

Like Marsha P. Johnson, Archbishop Carl Bean, and Audre Lorde just to name a few.

As we reflect on National Coming Out Day,

We as the LBGTQ+ community must remember to encourage others to live in their truth. Coming out is different for everyone, and it is not for everyone to understand.

As we come out, one by one, we must remember that love is for everyone,

And everyone desires to be loved.

So, dry your eyes and put on a smile as we walk down the street with PRIDE

And stand in our truth.

Let’s hold hands and embrace each other coming out-- together.

Donald Wilson

Health Educator


Happy National Coming Out Day

AMAAD Logo .png
Screen Shot 2021-05-11 at 4.30.44 PM.png

Christopher Webb- Communications Coordinator



Gerald Garth - Editor



Carl Highshaw - Publisher



Facebook  Instagram