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    Reflecting on AGUILAS Activities in 2023 and Planning for 2024

    By Eduardo Morales, Ph.D.–

    The nonprofit AGUILAS in 2023 continued to be the only agency in San Francisco that provides all of its services in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. AGUILAS was able to expand its reach using telehealth for individuals and groups, making it convenient for participants to engage in offered health-related activities.

    During the spring of 2023, we were able to hold a three-day, two-night retreat at Enchanted Hills Camp in Napa that was funded by an Empowerment Grant from the State of California. At this retreat, various health promotion activities were offered and nutritious meals as well as the recently remodeled retreat facilities were appreciated. AGUILAS partnered with the staff of Queer Arts at this retreat. (Their offices are located at 575 Castro Street, which was the site of Harvey Milk’s shop, Castro Camera.) Additionally, artist Juan Manuel Carmona, MFA, facilitated an Expressive Arts Workshop. There was time for fun, relaxation, and an evening of music and dancing.

    In celebration of Thanksgiving, AGUILAS had a successful major social event with dinner, entertainment, and HIV testing offered by the UCSF AIDS Health Project. This social event was well attended, enabling AGUILAS to thank volunteers, staff, and program participants.

    La Academia de AGUILAS provided leadership development workshops throughout the year and several participants completed the basic set of workshops and thereby each received a certificate of completion from AGUILAS in partnership with Alliant International University. Our program activities in 2023 were funded by the State of California, VIIV Foundation, and the San Francisco Department of Public Health, as well as by various donations from the LGBTQI community.

    Sadly, AGUILAS’ contracts with the State of California and the San Francisco Department of Public Health ended on June 30, 2023. By mobilizing and advocating for continued funding at a meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, AGUILAS received a modest level of funding to sustain many of our health promotion program activities for 12 months that started July1, 2023, by the Board of Supervisors. They used an add-back process as part of implementing the new 2023–2024 San Francisco budget.

    The San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the HIV Advocacy Network gave AGUILAS a Partner in Progress Award on August 21, 2023, in recognition of our “outstanding efforts to organize and mobilize people living with and impacted by HIV over the past year to fight for justice for our communities.”

    Plans for La Academia de AGUILAS in 2024

    In large part due to the success of past La Academia de AGUILAS workshops, this educational series will be expanding in the new year. In 2024, La Academia de AGUILAS will be offering advanced levels of leadership development workshops as well as various workshops concerning communicating with the media about issues affecting our community and how to be a mentor for others. AGUILAS looks forward to continuing La Academia and to fostering the development of a pipeline for leadership positions in our community.

    Recognition From the National Latinx Psychological Association

    This year I was grateful to receive a Certificate of Appreciation for my service as President of the National Latinx Psychological Association (NLPA) during its 20th Anniversary over a three-year cycle: one year as President-Elect, one year as President, and one year as Past President.

    As Past President, I was Co-Chair of the Council of Past Presidents of NLPA. In this role, I started NLPA’s Workgroup in Racism and Diversity and facilitated the start of an ongoing NLPA Diversity Committee. Additionally, I was a member of NLPA’s Website Committee, Chaired the 2021 Conference Committee, and was a member of NLPA’s Continuing Education and Professional Development Committee. Before my presidency I was elected to be NLPA’s Treasurer and Acting Secretary of Finance for two years. Currently, I am a member of NLPA’s Council of Past Presidents.

    Starting January 2024, I will chair the Commission on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention, and Training in Psychology Task Force (CEMRRAT2) of the American Psychological Association (APA) and represent the APA Board of Professional Affairs. 2024 will be my fifth year as a CEMRRAT2 member. CEMRRAT2 provides funding to psychology students to present their research at professional conferences, and provides funding to educational institutions for activities to recruit, retain, and train students and faculty members in their institutions on ethnic minority matters. CEMRRAT2 is a resource for advising APA and its various governance groups on how to be more responsive to racial justice issues.

    Eduardo Morales, Ph.D. is a Professor Emeritus, retired Distinguished Professor, and current adjunct professor at Alliant International University. He is also a licensed psychologist and a founder and current Executive Director of AGUILAS, an award-winning program for Latinx LGBTQ+. Of Puerto Rican decent, he has received numerous distinguished awards and citations, including being named a Fellow of 12 divisions of the American Psychological Association.

    Nuestra Voz
    Published on December 21, 2023