Thank you to the nearly 100 community members who came out in purple and packed the room to support our request for a funding extension at the Mental Health Service Act Steering Committee meeting! This was the first time local community mobilized to support the sustainability of our Pride Center, and decision makers were able to see firsthand the impact and importance of our space and services. Thanks to your historic participation, the Steering Committee voted unanimously to move our request forward!
This was the first step of many and we need your continued support to ensure we make it to the State for an official approval of funding. From now until October 31st, the Mental Health & Substance Abuse Recovery Commission (MHSARC) is collecting public comments about the Pride Center and our request for a funding extension.
Please support by uplifting your voice and making a public comment about the importance the Pride Center to you and the impact on your life and wellbeing.
The following are several ways that you can make a public comment. If you were not able to make the meeting last month, you can access our presentation materials here and scroll below to read excerpts of the powerful testimonies given by courageous community members. For ideas on how to make a public comment and what to say check out these resources.
1) Written Comment:
Email: Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Mail: Click here for a Public Comment Form to submit to 310 Harbor Blvd, Bldg E, Belmont CA 94002
2) Video Comment:
We are collecting one minute videos from community members sharing testimony about the Pride Center. Join us at the Pride Center on Thursday, October 25th, from 6-7pm to record your public comment with one of our newest mental health clinicians, Christi Kumasawa, who has a background in broadcast journalism. If you have a smart phone, camera, or computer and can record a video on your own, please do and upload it here: https://www.dropbox.com/request/2BtJoJJzoHYCfLEnM1li
3) Organizational Support Letter:
Thank you to the over 30 organizations who submitted a letter of support for the Pride Center! If you are a part of an organization that believes in the work we do, there is still time to add your voice. Click here for a Sample Letter of Support template and submit to email@example.com.
4) Public Hearing:
The MHSARC will be meeting on November 7th from 3 to 5 pm in the Wind Room of the Foster City Community Center at 1000 E Hillsdale Blvd for a final vote on whether to approve us moving forward and making our formal funding request to the State. If you can, please join us at this meeting to support and make a public comment.
Save the date: January 24th If we are approved locally on November 7th, January is the soonest that we will be able to make our case in Sacramento to the Mental Health and Service Act Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSA OAC). We are hoping to be on their agenda January 24th and plan to carpool up to Sacramento with as many community members as possible. If you are able to join us contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 650-554-1234.
I’ll leave you with the moving words of our incredible community. Their stories give me hope and courage to fight for a better world for our queer and trans community.
“The Pride Center is one of the few places I feel safe and at home to express myself in San Mateo county without fear of judgement or hatred towards myself. In school, slurs are dropped often with malintent. At the center, not only is that kind of behaviour discouraged, things get actively done about it. Trainings are held, for the staff and the public, on how to be a decent and respectful human being. Often times, I feel safer at the center than I do at home, because of the quality of the place and the people.” -Fen Schubert
“Living with depression and anxiety and the idea that I am not enough to fit the norms of our modern society made me feel hopeless. I found San Mateo Pride Center to be my new support with resources such as therapy and case management. In the process, I became stronger and found hope for a better life. I also realized I am a man who has much to offer.” -Marvin Alexander Melendez-Iraheta
“As a visibly transgender woman, when I go to new places I often feel conspicuous and have to explain myself. People are usually polite enough, but constantly having to expend the extra energy of putting others at ease is draining. The San Mateo County Pride Center is one place where I never have to explain myself – the people there just get it. No puzzled looks, no awkward conversations to break the ice. The existence of such a welcoming space is valuable because it allows me to de-stress from a world that doesn’t always know how to relate to me. This warm, accepting space is, in my view, a preventative measure against anxiety.” -Lynn Keiser
I hope that you will join our voices with your own!