Category Archives: Office of Diversity and Equity

TransACTION Day of Change – Dreaming of a World without TDOR (#endTDOR)

On Friday November 18, 2022, San Mateo County (SMC) community members gathered at Redwood City Courthouse square for the first annual TransACTION Day of Change in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). SMC has observed TDOR since 2015. By providing these annual days of action, the planning committee hope to create more awareness, education, and visibility to stop this violence enacted toward transgender individuals.

In honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), TransACTION Day of Change was created to provide community the opportunity to commit to ending TDOR (#endTDOR). TDOR has traditionally been about honoring the trans people who have been murdered simply by being themselves (the highest number are Black Transgender women). The TransACTION Day of Change Planning committee (under the lead of LGBTQ Commission Director, Tanya Beat) wanted to honor victims’ lives with dignity and end the stigma that trans, nonbinary and gender diverse people face. Ultimately, we want to live in a world that no longer has Transgender Day of Remembrance. PRIDE Initiative cochairs Dana Johnson and Scott Gruendl joined community in support of TransACTION Day of Change. The featured event had resource booths, an Allegiance Wall, Reading of the Names, and ended in a Candlelight Vigil. PRIDE Initiative cochair and LGBTQ Commissioner Dana Johnson (they/ them) was the event emcee.

The event also offered a vaccination clinic which was able to administer 106 COVID-19 vaccinations and 8 MPOX vaccinations, according to the vaccine site manager.

“The event was affirming and a step towards change. I’m happy to be a part of this community and working with other community leaders in striving to make a safer community for trans, nonbinary and gender diverse folks. Identity, intersectionality, and inclusion is important to me, and I will continue to fight for trans, nonbinary, and gender diverse folks to be heard and seen.”

Dana Johnson, PRIDE Initiative Co-Chair and LGBTQ Commissioner


For more information about TDOR and to view the TDOR 2022 PowerPoint presentation visit SMC LGBTQ Commission website here.

In Solidarity,
Dana Johnson (they/ them/ theirs)

Health Ambassadors Reflect on the Importance of SMC’s 10th Annual PRIDE Celebration

BHRS Health Ambassadors supporting 10 year Anniversary of San Mateo County’s PRIDE Celebration

Version en Español abajo

Saturday at noon, the radiant sun, and hundreds of people ready to experience an LGBTQ+ celebration for the first time. Not just any celebration, but the 10 year anniversary of San Mateo County’s PRIDE Celebration! 

Volunteering at the 2022 San Mateo County Pride Celebration this past June was a group of BHRS’ Health Ambassadors, accompanied by their children. Joined by BHRS’ Office of Diversity & Equity, the Health Ambassadors helped collect demographic data of attendees to learn which communities were represented at the event. Along with volunteering, the Health Ambassadors were ready to make a special connection with their children and learn more about the LGBTQ+ community.  

“[At the Pride Celebration] my 14-year-old daughter seemed very happy, very open, like she was in her world. It was very natural for her to go with me around the park asking attendees each of the 6 questions of the questionnaire. We found happy people, dancing and enjoying their acceptance,” 

BHRS Health Ambassador, Lourdes Briseño, who had not attended a PRIDE celebration prior and, inspired by her experience at the festival, shared her story for the first time. 

“When my daughter came out she was between 8 and 9 years old, but I feel that I did not listen to her… At age 12 she came out to her older brother. Luis clarified/educated me that my daughter is a lesbian and demanded that I never reject her. I could had avoided 4 years of her suffering…”, said Lourdes. “When we arrived at the park, my husband looked very uncomfortable, but at last he said that he wanted to attend a support group for parents with LGBTQ + children… Having attended this event was a way of supporting my daughter. She is very young and needs the support of her family and then the support of society, because we don’t live alone as a family, she must make her life safer and happier for herself. Also, I learned the term ‘Queer’*” 

During the event, the community enjoyed local artists on stage, information booths breaking stigma around the LGBTQ+ community, and the playground for children and adults. While gifts were raffled and folks enjoyed the sun, it seems that the same balm of joy and freshness transforms minds and moves hearts.  

“For me it was nice to see that people fight to feel comfortable with who they are and that they find freedom along the way. At my daughter’s age -14 years old- she is already clear that all people should be accepted as they are, and we don’t have to judge anyone. We weren’t taught that where I grew up”. 

BHRS Health Ambassador, Angelica Zamora, originally from Mexico 

BHRS Health Ambassadors collected a total of 826 demographic surveys from an estimated total of 2,400 attendees from various parts of the Bay Area and other states across the country. The Spanish speaking community was the second largest group of attendees after the English speakers.  

You can find the Health Ambassadors continuing their support for LGBTQ+ communities at TransACTION Day of Change this Friday, 11/18 in Redwood City.

Read more

Health Ambassadors Join NAMIWalks 2022

16 BHRS-Health Ambassadors and their families and pets attended the first NAMIWalks held in San Mateo County. BHRS’ Office of Diversity & Equity and Office of Consumer & Family Affairs offered San Mateo County resources at the fair.

NAMIWalks Your Way 2022 came to San Mateo County for the very first time on Saturday, October 8th at Seal Point Park in San Mateo. NAMIWalks Your Way is an opportunity to unite and magnify mental health awareness across the country. We’re all in this together, and together we walk towards a future where Mental Health for All is a reality. 

To learn more about the Health Ambassador Program contact Charo Martinez at (650) 372-6136 or email mmartinezresendiz@smcgov.org.

Written by Charo Martinez (ella/sher/her), BHRS’ Office of Diversity & Equity

11/18- TransACTION Day of Change

In honor of *Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), San Mateo County and San Mateo County Pride Center invites you to TransACTION Day of Change where they are providing the community the opportunity to commit to ending TDOR (#endTDOR).

TransACTION Day of Change will feature resource booths, an Allegiance Wall, Reading of the Names, and a Candlelight Vigil. Creating change is difficult; especially when we mourn those who have lost their lives simply for being themselves. The event want to honor those who have died and also create ways for our community to learn and take action to #endTDOR.

Amazing agencies from San Mateo County and the Bay Area have been invited to provide exclusive resources, services and practical information that support trans and gender-diverse community members and their friends and families. This is where “ally” becomes a verb and we all take part in creating inclusive spaces at home, at work, and at school.

This event is free, inclusive, and will feature an Allegiance Wall where you can sign your name and walk away with practical ways to build awareness and ways that allies can impact and create a safer community for everyone.

Additionally, we are proud to announce that there will also be a COVID-19 and MPX vaccination clinics will be joining us. Both clinics are open to the public and they encourage folx to make appointments via MyTurn while walk-ins are also welcome. Please see the second attached flyer below for more information!

Questions?
Email Tanya Beat, LGBTQ Commission Director, tbeat@smcgov.org or
Azisa Todd, SMC Pride Center Lead Trainer & Events Coordinator, azisa.todd@sanmateopride.org

For more information about TransACTION Day of Change, visit: https://www.smcgov.org/lgbtq/event/transaction-day-change

10/22 – 9th Annual Sana Sana, Colita de Rana

Please join us for our 9th Annual Sana Sana, Colita de Rana event that is co-sponsored by BHRS’ Latino Collaborative, ALAS, SMC Public Health, Policy and Planning, and the BHRS Office of Diversity & Equity. The event will be held on Saturday, October 22 from 11 am to 3 pm at Cunha Intermediate School, 600 Church Street, Half Moon Bay, Ca. This is a family-friendly event to promote health and wellness among our Latinx community in SMC. This event will be in Spanish with English interpretation. We are proud to share that our keynote speaker will be Olga Talamante. Ms. Talamante is a Chicana political activist, former Executive Director of the Chicana/Latino Foundation, and an individual that has dedicated her life to advocacy, social justice, and community service. Additionally, we will have a Covid-19 vaccination clinic, food, music, resource booths, presentations by our BHRS Health Ambassadors and so much more.  Please refer to the attached flyer for additional information.


This event is hosted by one of our BHRS Health Equity Initiatives (HEI). Our HEI’s were created to ensure that all members of our community are afforded access to services and quality care. The initiatives are dedicated to representing specific ethnic and cultural communities that have been underserved, inappropriately served, or unserved. Their work has assisted us in decreasing stigma, educating and empowering our communities, supporting wellness and recovery, building culturally responsive service, and being a bridge to our County services. Please help us post and share the attached flyers with your clients and networks.

Vaccine Info:

10/11 – National Day of Prayer for Behavioral Health & Understanding

Each year in the beginning of October the nation celebrates the National Day of Prayer for Behavioral Health and Understanding. This day is designed to bring together mental health and substance abuse networks and faith leaders together so that they may recognize the importance of behavioral health issues in our community.

On Tuesday, Oct 11, BHRS Office of Diversity and Equity‘s Spirituality Initiative, Latino Collaborative and numerous faith leaders will virtually host our county’s 5th National Interfaith Day of Prayer for Behavioral Health and Understanding.

Register at https://smcgov.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAucu2grzouE9NWb7iKsoJKaQk4pG7Y-6GF

We invite consumers, faith base community, providers, and community to attend this event.

For more info contact Pam Ward Pious at wpam3238@gmail.com or Isaac Frederick at ifrederick@smcgov.org

2022 September Suicide Prevention Month

Today is the first day of September Suicide Prevention Month!

For 2022, San Mateo County, StarVista and partners are promoting the statewide theme of “Take Action for Suicide Prevention: Thriving at all Ages.”  To support Thriving At All Ages, Californians are encouraged to take action for suicide prevention by recognizing the importance of strengthening resiliency, protective factors, and physical and emotional wellness throughout the lifespan and at difference life stages. To learn more about the statewide theme, please visit SuicideisPreventable.org

Each year, San Mateo County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services’ Office of Diversity & Equity, StarVista, and Suicide Prevention Committee (SPC) promote free events throughout the month of September to promote Suicide Prevention Month. All events are free and open to the public. This year events will be in-person and/or virtual.  For full list of events and other ways to support suicide prevention throughout the month, visit SMCHealth.org/Suicide-Prevention-Month

Please show your support at your next virtual meeting with one of our 2022 Suicide Prevention Month virtual backgrounds (Download them at this webpage).  

Parent Project Fall 2022 Schedule

The Parent Project® is continuing this coming Fall with four virtual classes. Please share with your networks and communities.

The Parent Project® is a free, 14-week course that is offered in English and Spanish to anyone who cares for a child or adolescent. The classes meet for three hours each week. Parents learn parenting skills and get information about resources and other support available in their communities. Parents/caregivers learn and practice skills such as:

  • appropriate ways to discipline
  • preventing or stopping alcohol, drug and tobacco use
  • improving communication skills
  • improving grades and school attendance

Spanish All Class Flyer
English All Class Flyer

For more information, visit SMCHealth.org/ParentProject.

*NEW* BHRS’ Office of Diversity Job Opportunities Available!

San Mateo County Health, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS), Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) is hiring for various job opportunities!  ODE advances health equity in behavioral health outcomes of marginalized communities throughout San Mateo County. There are opportunities to work in each of the four ODE strategic pathways; 1) Workforce Transformation, 2) Community Engagement, 3) Strategic Partnerships and 3) Policies & System Change. 

Applicants should have a passion for programs that advance diversity, inclusion and equity in behavioral health outcomes. To view the various job opportunities and instructions on applying, visit https://www.smchealth.org/pod/job-internship-opportunities. Those with lived experience as a person in recovery from mental health and/or substance use conditions or as a family member of someone who has behavioral health conditions and/or with experience as a member of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and/or marginalized communities are strongly encouraged to apply.

For more information about BHRS’ Office of Diversity and Equity, please visit here.

BHRS’ ODE Internship Program – Deadline 5/13

The BHRS Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) advances health equity in behavioral health outcomes of marginalized communities throughout San Mateo County. ODE is dedicated to addressing health inequities and stigma in the areas of mental health and substance use and supporting wellness and recovery in San Mateo County. ODE works to achieve these goals by promoting cultural humility and competence, which are rooted in principles of
social justice. To learn more about BHRS ODE’s work, visit www.smchealth.org/bhrs/ODE.

More information about the internship in the application below.

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