Season's Greetings!

Season's greetings to you and yours!

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A Message from our CEO:

Greetings AMAAD Family & Friends,

Happy Holidays! For many of us, this time of year brings on a whirlwind of emotions. While there is so much to celebrate, there may also be a reason to feel less than rejoiceful. This year I want to make it a priority to check in on the emotional state of the people around me. This is not only a charge for myself, but for all of us at AMAAD. I hope you will do the same – please check in with your people.

Also, we want to wish Gerald Garth, COO, a warm farewell as he embarks upon his next chapter. While we will truly miss Gerald as a part of our day-to-day operations, we are confident and look forward to our ongoing collaboration with and support of Gerald.

Lastly, last year, after much discussion about the cultural relevance of the holiday season, AMAAD’s Board of Directors made the purposeful decision to designate the period of Kwanzaa as a paid holiday for our entire staff. With that, we ask our clients and partners to please take note of the AMAAD holiday commemoration schedule below. 

Happy holidays and be well.

Thank You,

Carl Highshaw, MSW

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder

AMAAD Holiday Commemoration Schedule

Christmas, Kwanzaa, & New Year Commemoration Schedule

AMAAD Office Closed: December 23, 2021, at 1 pm – January 2, 2022

The AMAAD Institute will reopen on Tuesday, January 4, 2022

World AIDS Day

December 1st, 2021


AMAAD Says Thank You!


The AMAAD Institute sends many thanks to Jasmyne Cannick, Better Brothers Los Angeles, and Linda Davis for their generous donations to help serve and support the youth and young adults of South Los Angeles. Because of your gracious gifts, AMAAD can continuously impact our communities. Thank you!

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AMAAD partners with NAESM 2022

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The NAESM African American MSM Leadership Conference on Health Disparities and Social Justice (NAESM) is our nation’s largest annual convening dedicated to exploring HIV prevention, care, treatment, policy, and research advances related to Black men who have sex with men.

The upcoming conference will be held January 13 - January 16, 2022, at the Hilton LAX in Los Angeles, Ca. The conference provides an opportunity for Black MSM-serving organizations and individuals to share best practices and methodologies. The conference also serves as a think tank and clearinghouse for Black MSM-related HIV research, providing opportunities for showcasing effective grassroots initiatives and interventions. More recently, the conference has contextualized the Black MSM HIV epidemic within a broader health disparities, social justice, and human rights framework—a recognition that getting ahead of this disease requires addressing the social determinants and social context of health.

This annual conference is central to NAESM’s organizational mission of providing national and local leadership to address the myriad health and wellness issues confronted by Black gay and bisexual men through advocacy, services, and education.

As is true to the mission, the AMAAD Institute is excited to partner with NAESM to further center, celebrate, and grow Black LGBTQ+ communities and leadership.

To stay informed of what's happening next with AMAAD and NAESM, follow us on Facebook at The AMAAD Institute and Instagram @amaad_institute.

AMAAD Star of the Month:

Gerald Garth


Each month, the AMAAD Institute highlights one of its shining team members!

"After an amazing four-plus years serving at the AMAAD Institute, my time has come to a close. While I might not be in the building every day, my connection to the team and community will not end. The decision was not made lightly, as AMAAD holds a special place for me. During my time at AMAAD, I have had the great privilege to work with Dr. Carl growing the agency’s team from 5 to now over 30 (which I have affectionately deemed the AMAAD Squad) as well as growing programs from one to now 15. AMAAD has become an undeniable presence in Los Angeles and beyond, committed to serving and prioritizing the Black LGBTQ+ community.

AMAAD has created a culture of being brave—brave in approaches, brave in our unapologeticness, brave in Blackness, brave in queerness, and brave in all the spaces in which those factors intersect. Working with such a dynamic team providing intersectional care and services with a “for us, by us” approach, AMAAD has built peer-led, strength-based, trauma informed programs and services that center Black and Black LGBTQ+ experiences. With services in housing, recovery, HIV testing and care, behavioral health, leadership development, and now COVID access and education and a growing service portfolio, AMAAD brings undisputable value to the communities we serve, with the data and reputation to prove it.

Serving originally as Manager of Program Operations then Director of Programs & Operations to most recently Chief Operations Officer, I am exceptionally grateful to lead and grow one of the most dynamic, hardworking, and committed teams I have ever known. Thank you to Carl, the Board of Directors, the entire amazing AMAAD staff, and our fantastic program participants, community partners, and supporters for allowing me the great opportunity to serve as a servant leader.

As I move into my next phase, I am confident in the ongoing success of AMAAD. While this chapter may be ending, the connection most certainly will not.

Looking forward and more to come,

Gerald Garth

December Programs and Updates

Click here to access online programs.

End of Year AMAAD Highlights


Donald Wilson

Health Educator/ Outreach Specialist

"One of my highlights from 2021 was the F3 Cookies & Condoms Brother’s Brunch. During this event, participants learned that you can’t judge a person without really knowing them and that we all are similar in many ways. I wanted to make sure that I created a safe space for same gender loving people and not be judged for it. During the event, we shared resources and linkage to services in South LA. This event helped build and strengthen our community as I witnessed and experienced bonding amongst the group. I can't wait to make more magical moments in 2022!"

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Ryan Sample

Behavioral Health Therapist Team Lead

"Reclaiming Innocence is back with a special thank you to our participants and partners, in support of the Participant Appreciation Celebration hosted summer of 2021. Because of the community's trust in AMAAD and our continued dedication to remain unapologetically Black and Black LGBTQIA+, the Reclaiming Innocence team has served and supported over 450 applicants.

Together, we have helped the organization, community, and each other through your testimonies, daily lived experience, and by shifting your own narrative to “reclaim your innocence.”

We THANK YOU! The team will host a collaborative mixer in January of 2022 as we look forward to even more great work together."


Christopher Webb

Media & Communications Coordinator

"The Los Angeles American Horror Story Mini Ball was a huge success within the Los Angeles Ballroom Scene. Over 130 participants attended our free ball with $1,000 in cash prizes. Not only did the community "slay the house down," but they were also linked to resources and provided safe sex kits by the AMAAD Institute.

Six members from the hit HBOMAX TV series, "Legendary" Seasons 1 and 2 served as judges and/ or participants alongside AMAAD's very own staff.

This was AMAAD's first ball, but surely won't be our last!

To see clips from this event, please visit our YouTube page: AMAAD Institute. "


Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

-The AMAAD Institute

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Christopher Webb


Media Coordinator

Gerald Garth



Carl Highshaw



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