The African American Community Service Agency (AACSA) is one of the only African American cultural centers in the Silicon Valley. Our mission: providing quality educational, cultural, social and recreational programs, services and activities in order to perpetuate and strengthen African American identity, culture, values, traditions, knowledge and family life-is at the heart of all programs. AACSA's membership is open to everyone, regardless of race, religion, age or disability. The Agency's diverse activities and services offer a natural gateway to African American life.
On November 26, l978, at the Antioch Baptist Church, 268 East Julian Street in San Jose, California, twelve individuals gathered to establish the Afro-American Community Service Agency. We, the African-American Community, thank you for planting the seed and we the African American Community will nurture the seed so that it will continue to grow.
Mr. Chuck Alexander
Mr. Willie Bell
Mr. Henry Gage, Sr.
Mr. Louis C. Gibson
Mr. Bob Hale
Ms. Inez C. Jackson
Mr. Charles E. Lyons
Ms. Jackie Penn
Rev. M. Samuel Pinkston, Ph.D
Mr. Ed Sims
Mr. Wester Sweet, Attorney
Ms. Charlene Young, Ph.D
It is the mission of the African American Community Service Agency to preserve the dignity and culture of a diverse African American Community and to provide services that promote full participation of all of Santa Clara County and the general society.
Milan R. Balinton | Acting Executive Director
Although not always wrapped within the shiny gates of triumph, Milan Ray Balinton epitomizes what the road to success often entails. Forcing himself past the hurdle of living with a learning disorder, traversing beyond his start in the impoverished Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco, and lifting the barrier presented to him as an African-American young man, Mr. Balinton has conversely shaken the community with his resounding presence and has ventured on to become a highly sought after asset within the African-American community.
During his early years, Mr. Balinton was introduced to the NAACP organization by his grandmother who took him by the hand, urging him to “give back to the community, for many have sacrificed so that we could be free, and you must do the same.” These words, which planted a continual reminder, were often what he re-visited and used to overcome the obstacles set before him along his endeavor.
For over 15 years, Mr. Balinton has diligently served the community within various capacities which landed him innumerable leadership and committee representative appointments.
Since graduating from San Jose State University in 2009 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Communications, Mr. Balinton has continued to devote ample time to service while completing the Executive Master's in Public Administration program at Golden Gate University, in San Francisco, CA. Milan has served in several leadership roles, including, but not limited to: Past Alumni Board of Directors, for the Western Region, Past President of the San Jose Alumni Chapter, Past Advisor of the Delta Rho Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., member of the 100 Black Men Silicon Valley Chapter; Past President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council- Santa Clara Valley Chapter, former mentor for the Tiger Woods Foundation, member of the Black Leadership Kitchen Cabinet, National Forum Black Public Administrators, member of Maranatha Christian Center, the new SJSU Black Alumni Network, Lions International, CEO of Rise and Shine Consulting LLC and currently the Executive Director of the African American Community Service Agency, to name a few.
Milan R. Balinton is the voice of triumph for those who are often left unheard while facing defeat. People living with disabilities, students, seniors, and the very least of them appreciate the once young boy who made a decision to heed his grandmother's words of wisdom not knowing that years later those same words would be what has single-handedly changed his life as he continues to pay it forward.
Achievements to Mention:
Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Community Based Organizations/Leaders
City of San Jose Commemoration for Juneteenth Celebration
Commendation for Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration
Man of the Year of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Silicon Valley
Flame Keepers Award, Milpitas Black Caucus and Flame Keepers Committee
2014 The Western Province of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Robert L. Harris, Esq. Province Polemarch Award
2014 Living Legends Award, Present to by the Caesar Chavez Community Action Center, SJSU
2014 Golden Rule International Award
2014 Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rise and Shine Consulting, LLC.
2015 Alumni of the Year, San Jose State University (Student Involvement) Greek Community, and many more
2016 Outstanding Alumni Award - SJSU Department of Communication Studies
- 2016 - EBONY Power 100 People’s Choice Award
Sabrina-Moné Lamontagne | Office Manager & Executive Assistant to the Executive Director
Sabrina Lamontagne is a new addition to the AACSA team as the Office Manager and Executive Assistant to the Executive Director. Sabrina has been an AACSA volunteer since she was an undergraduate student and also served as an AACSA Student Ambassador. She received her BS in Business Administration from San Jose State University in 2013. After graduating, she worked at KTLA, a Los Angeles TV News station, as a Local Sales Coordinator.
Shirley Parrish | Office Administrator
Shirley Parrish has been working for the African American Community Service Agency for about three years as our Office Administrator. The thing she loves about her job is that she gets to help and service the community by using all her skills, which includes cooking, entertaining, decorating and just being herself to make people feel safe and welcome. The things she’s done in her life have prepared her for this job. She’s just where she wants to be at this time in her life - loving God and loving herself because if it was not for Him, she would not be here to say “thank you Lord, thank you.”
Board of Directors
Natisha L. Holloway | Board Chair
Natisha L. Holloway is the Board Chair of the AACSA Board of Directors. Although Natisha is a native of San Francisco, she has spent countless summers in San Jose with her great grandmother Inez C. Jackson and grew up in the summer programs of the AACSA. Natisha remembers the countless hours of service her great grandmother gave to her community, and the knowledge she instilled in all her children that "You can never give too little, sometimes a little is a lot". She graduated from San Jose State University and is currently a Business and Risk Management Analyst at the San Jose State Research Foundation.
Favorite quote: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Kenyatta Renee Yarn is the Vice Chair of the AACSA Board of Directors. She is a current graduating senior of San Jose State University majoring in Behavioral Sciences minoring in African American Studies. She began working with the AACSA as a volunteer throughout the week which eventually lead to her Student Ambassador role for SJSU during 2013. Since joining the AACSA mission, Kenyatta has been a dedicated member of the community serving through multiple leadership roles on and off campus. She currently serves as the Chapter President of Eta Omega Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Fundraising Co-Chair of SJSU's African American Commencement Committee, as well as the Director of Events of the National Pan-Hellenic Council on SJSU campus. Kenyatta also continuously serves the off campus community through our annual Juneteenth Festivals, as the Youth Arena Coordinator (2014-2015), the AACSA Annual Martin Luther King Luncheon Volunteer Chair 2014-2015, as well as the Silicon Valley Black Legends Awards Volunteer Coordinator 2017. She continues to thrive and grow within our organization, humbly persevering through the daily challenges of undergraduate life and always remembering the beauty of giving back.
Kathy Love-Stokes | Board Secretary & Membership Chair
Kathy is a member of the AACSA Board of Directors and serves as the Board Secretary and Membership Chair. She is a graduate of Golden Gate University (GGU) Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A) with a concentration in Management, and Master of Science (M.S.) in Database Development and Administration. Kathy is a member of Jubilee Christian Center, sings in the Choir, and dances with the Praise Dance Ministry. In addition, she is the President of the North Valley Council (NVC) Parent Teacher's Association (PTA), and Chair for the Berryessa District Advisory Committee (BDAC).
Walter Wilson | Board Member
Walter Wilson is a member of the AACSA Board of Directors. In addition to Parliamentarian, formally also responsible for Program Development. He has recently worked with the Executive Director on the improving the current AACSA building and generating new resources to assist in the facilities upgrades. He has chaired the Coordination of the 2009 Juneteenth Festival, the largest annual Cultural gathering in Santa Clara County. He also heads up the "Project Management" of the African-American Cultural Center, a proposed mixed use development of housing, Community Center, retail which is an initiative of the Board of Directors of the AACSA, and the Antioch Housing and Economic Development Corporation.
Robert Greenfield IV | Board Member
An Atlanta, GA native and man of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Robert Greenfield IV is a recent Industrial & Operations Engineering graduate from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2016), eager to further the Chapter’s work in mentorship, activism, and community service.
Robert is a ex-NCAA Division 1 Soccer player, and has managed multimillion dollar assets at Goldman Sachs, led marketing campaigns for American Express and Teach for America, and has developed sentiment analysis software for Cisco Systems, all to mature the soft and hard skills necessary to become flexible within varying team dynamics.
During his college years, he co-lead the International #BBUM (Being Black at the University of Michigan) movement that served as the precursor to the #ITooAmHarvard and #BlackLivesMatter movements and help give a voice to over 2MM people to exclaim their experiences of oppression. He's conducted interviews on CNN, Fox News, and the New York Times before he was 21 years old. The movement motivated University-wide change in Race & Ethnicity policy, negotiated a $10MM multicultural center, and sparked the University of Michigan’s current 5-year diversity initiative.
Robert transitioned from corporate experience to the struggles of an entrepreneur and put his ambition to work by teaching himself how to code to develop his own startups, Nomsy, which has grown into a $1.4MM venture that empowers over 40K people find the food that fits their dietary lifestyle everyday, and Blacklist, a TEDX award-winning, Black culture media application help re-innovate how people of color interact with online content. Robert has been invited to the White House via President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper program, has fundraised over $70K from venture capitalists, grants, and incubators.
Currently, Robert is the CEO of Nomsy, a social network that allows users to visually share and discover diet-filtered topics, recipes, and places by posting within a community that understands their restriction. We empower Consumer Package Goods companies to know how much of their social media content engagement is converting to direct sales of their product, enable clients to increase social media engagement, and lower client marketing costs by connecting them to niche consumer markets through our online platform.
Aileen Casanave | Board Member
Aileen F. Casanave is Deputy General Counsel (acting General Counsel) and Privacy Counsel for Jiff, Inc., an enterprise health benefits platform software services company, where she provides business and legal support to the CEO and CFO and manages the company’s legal, immigration, and regulatory compliance matters. Aileen is also General Counsel to the African American Community Service Agency (AACSA), President of the Santa Clara County Black Lawyers Association (SCCBLA), and Chair of ACC-SFBA’s Career Advancement Committee.
For the past three decades, Aileen has worked tirelessly to promote the areas of diversity, global inclusion, social justice and public interest in the community, and the legal sector in particular. She developed numerous diversity and mentoring and programs in and out of the workplace while at Lockheed Martin, Sun Microsystems and TIBCO Software Inc.
She serves on multiple boards dedicated to diversity or public interest, including the Public Interest and Social Justice Law Board at Santa Clara Law School, Santa Clara County Black Lawyers Association, California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL), Santa Clara County Bar Association, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee of the Association of Corporate Counsel's San Francisco Bay Area chapter, and from 2010-2016, Aileen served on the USF School of Law Board of Governors (where she continues to serve with the Employment committee as a non-board member).
Aileen has taught Critical Race Theory and housing discrimination at Santa Clara Law School and created Law Day events where attorneys of color discuss issue of law with children in underserved grammar and high schools in the bay area. In 2013, she completed an exhibit at San Jose City Hall called And Justice For All, The History of African-Americans in Santa Clara County's Judicial System and has hosted a Gideon Celebration; a Celebration of America's 6th Amendment Right to Counsel honoring the careers of four Public Defenders from the counties of Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco.
Ms. Casanave was awarded the Women’s Lawyer’s Division of the National Bar Associations’ Lawyer of the Year award and the 2016 California Association of Black Lawyer’s President’s Award, the California Women Lawyers’ Woman of Achievement Award, the Silicon Valley’s Women of Influence Award and was inducted into the Silicon Valley Black Legend’s Hall of Fame in February, 2017.
Sha’Ronai Bell | Board Member
Sha’Ronai Bell is a Southern California native, but has resided in San Jose since 2011. She is a recent graduate of San Jose State University, has a degree in Forensic Science, with a concentration in Biology, minor in Chemistry, and is currently moving forward with pursuing her Masters of Science in Criminology. With dreams of becoming a Crime Scene Investigator, she grew up watching many episodes of CSI, NCIS, Without a Trace, and Law & Order: SVU. Sha’Ronai is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She has served on the executive board of many African American student organizations while studying as an undergraduate student. During her spare time she enjoys giving back to her community, whether it be sitting on a panel for high school students or volunteering in other ways to help improve her community. She has served as a Student Ambassador for the African American Community Service Agency for three years and is now a dedicated Board Member.
One of her favorite quotes that she lives by is, “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome” said by Arthur Ashe.
Walter Wilson | Board Member | email@example.com
Walter Wilson is a member of the AACSA Board of Directors. In addition to Parlamentarian, he is also responsible for Program Development. He has recently worked with the Executive Director on the improving the current AACSA building and generatiing new resources to assist in the facilities upgrades. He just completed the Coordination of the 2009 Juneteenth Festival, the largest annual Cultural gathering in Santa clara county. He also heads up the "Project Management" of the African-American Cultural Center, a proposed mixed use development of housing, Community Center, retail which is an initiative of the Board of Directors of the AACSA, and the Antioch Housing and Economic Development Corporation.