Author Archives: Siavash Zohoori

Black History Month Kick Off: Substance Abuse and Suicide Photovoices

AACI’s Black History Month kick off event included informational keynote speakers, activities for children, resources, and powerful storytellers. Of the powerferul storytellers were three individuals who created Photovoice projects about Substance Abuse and Suicide.

In collaboration with the Office of Diversity and Equity, Service Connect, and the African American Community Initiative, this group of storytellers came together to share the ways that they have been affected by the issues of substance abuse and suicicdal thoughts. At the Black History Month kick off event, the storytellers shared their photovoices and sat on a panel to answer questions and discuss the way the topics of their photovoices interact with the African American community.

Some shared the way that substance abuse has affected their relationships, growth, and responsibilites. Others shared that they wish their families and community members would be more open about suicide and other mental health issues so that they would feel more supported to cope with those stigmatized issues.

To view last year’s Black Lives Matter photovoices, click here.

Facebook’s AI Can Detect and Intervene in Suicide

Facebook’s new “proactive detection” artificial intelligence (AI) technology will scan all posts for patterns of suicidal thoughts. When necessary, they will send mental health resources to the user at risk or their friends, or contact local first-responders. By using AI to intervene in concerning posts instead of waiting for users to report concerning posts, Facebook will decrease how long it takes to send help.

facebook-live-suicide-prevention.png Read more

On Hate and Bias: Youth Speak Out

Youth at San Mateo County’s Youth Services Center (YSC) shared their stories in a Photovoice program hosted by the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE). Youth members responded to the question: “What do you wish for your future?” and “Do you feel like you have control over your future?” Youth expressed unmet needs to have their strengths and values recognized, that they are often portrayed as ‘problem children’, that they enjoy mental health services, and that they have been affected by trauma— their mistreatment a consequence of hate and bias. They worked hard to create the best Photovoices they could. Read more

ODE’s Storytelling Program: Our Accomplishments for the Past Year!

The ODE storytelling program hosts a space in which people share their stories of recovery and wellness to make a meaningful impact on themselves and others. Participants engage in workshops that guide them in creating and sharing their stories in different forms. Beginning simply with a story circle or a framing question, participants continue developing their narrative as a digital story or a Photovoice project. Photovoice and Digital Storytelling are workshops in which participants share their stories of wellness and recovery. As final projects, Photovoice participants produce a single-page layout of a photo and short written piece and Digital Storytelling participants produce a 3 minute video.

This past year, we accomplished a lot and we are so excited to share: Read more

Lived Experience Education Workgroup PUPs: How to be a better ally

By Austyn Lee, Office of Diversity & Equity Summer Intern

On Tuesday, September 5th, the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) captured the stories from the Lived Experience Education Workgroup (LEEW) through PUP, which is short for Pop-Up Photovoice. In a PUP, participants pair their short, written piece with a photo of themselves or an image that they feel represents their message. For this PUP, stories shared anonymously were paired with either the purple and teal ribbon for suicide prevention or the green ribbon for mental health awareness. Because September is Suicide Prevention Month as well as Recovery Month, the framing question was: “What do people need to know about your lived experience in times when you may need more support?” Read more

ODE is looking for new interns!

As we bid farewell to our wonderful interns, Austyn, Valerie, and Karla, we open our doors to a new group of interns. Today, our interns shared a presentation on the work they’ve accomplished in their time at ODE. In their weeks here, they worked to strategize on the Arab-American working group, created a video about why sharing gender pronouns are important, supported Mental Health First Aid Classes, created data interpretation systems for some of our programs, and more! We are truly proud of and excited for them.


For those interested in applying to our internship program read more!

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In Support to Those Affected by The Decision to End DACA

The federal administration announced yesterday (September 5, 2017) that it will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This puts an expiration date on the legal protections granted to “DREAMers”, individuals who entered the country as children without documentation. In many communities, including San Mateo County, this is a time of uncertainty and fear for young people previously protected by DACA and their families.

The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) staff sends our compassion to those who are affected by this decision. We also affirm our dedication to diversity and multiculturalism, to building bridges, and to equity. Read more

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