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African American Community Initiative


African American Community Initiative (AACI)

Hosted by The Office of Diversity and Equity

The Mission

The mission of the African American Community Initiative is to become a known resource for African American Community members facing challenges with finding and utilizing mental health services, while addressing inequalities faced by African Americans in our county.  Our vision is to build a community driven support system for reducing mental health and substance use treatment disparities, and the stigma of mental illness.  

Be a part of the solution!

Join the African American Community Initiative as we work to increase awareness of mental health and substance use issues and promote wellness and recovery .We look forward to seeing you at our monthly meeting.  We meet every second Tuesday of the month at Silicon Valley Community Foundation, 1300 S. El Camino Real, San Mateo from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Contact Lee Harrison and Pamela Ward at for more information. 

The African American Community Initiative is funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA).

AACI Brochure

2017 AACI Black History Month Fair

Past Events

Healthy Minds Make for a Healthy Community

While behavioral health issues effect people of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds, African Americans are more likely to experience certain factors that lead to these issues, and less likely to seek or receive treatment. In recent years, 12% of people in treatment for substance use disorders identified as African American, compared to 3% of the total San Mateo County population.

General information

Upcoming AACI Events

African Americans and the Vote – 02/15/2020

Please join the Behavioral Health and Recovery Services’ African American Community Initiative (AACI) of San Mateo County and the City of Daly City On Saturday, February 15, 2020 at Doelger Café – 101 Lake Merced Blvd, Daly City from 12:00pm to 3:00pm  This year, 2020, we stop to focus on the national theme “Black Americans & the Vote” which marks the sesquicentennial of the 15th Amendment (1870) and the right of Black men to the ballot after the Civil War. This year, 2020 also marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment and the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement. This is a free event for all, lunch will be provided.

Intergenerational Community Dinner – Black Queer Pride

In honor of Black History Month The African American Community Initiative & San Mateo County Pride Center are hosting an Intergenerational Community Dinner where you will have a chance to learn how present day pop culture and other historical moments have been influenced by Black Queer Pride. This is a free event and Light refreshments will be provided.  Wednesday February 26th, 2020 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the San Mateo County Pride Center, 1021 S. El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA 94402. Please RSVP at to ensure we have enough food.


Black Queer Identities 

Have you ever thought about who coined the term “Slay”, “Black Girl Magic” and other urban phrases? Join us for this two hour workshop where you will learn about these phrases, have some discussion about racism, systemic Issues, culture, stigma and Black Queer Identities. Thursday, February 20th, 2020 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm at the Barbara E. Mouton Center, 903 Weeks St., East Palo Alto, CA 94303


Redwood City Parks Black History Month Event

“Together We Rise” A cultural experience with entertainment provided by Diamano Coura West African Dance Company and enjoy Waffle Amore and Gorilla Zillas food trucks. Get information about college, housing, internships, job opportunities and more! Friday February 21st, 2020 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at the Veterans Memorial Senior Center, 1455 Madison Ave., Redwood City, CA 94063. Please visit for more info.


The African American Community Initiative has established a partnership with the African American Community Health Advisory Council (AACHAC). Since 1995 the African-American Community Health Advisory Committee has been working with businesses, corporations, community-based organizations, health educators and the faith community to create an awareness of the major health concerns affecting African-Americans and to actively seek and promote a more healthful lifestyle.