Opposition to AB2261 – Facial Recognition

May 5, 2020

The NAACP San Diego Branch was founded in 1916, and has been standing sentry over the civil rights of San Diego residents for a century.  Just because we are 101 years old, however, doesn’t mean we don’t understand technology and the dangers to civil rights posed by that technology.

Every danger we face gives the authoritarians in government an opportunity to restrict our liberty, and those restrictions always fall most heavily on African-Americans and Latinx folks.  The “Communist Threat” gave us COINTELPRO, 9-11 gave us the Patriot Act (which was used to target brown folks), San Diego has been using “Smart Lights” to monitor our communities, and now our State legislators want to use COVID-19 to eliminate privacy in public life through the use of facial recognition software.

As usual, beside the loss of privacy that everyone will suffer, an extra burden falls on African-Americans and Latinx folks, because the software simply doesn’t work as well for them.  African-Americans will not be recognized and misrecognized at higher rates than the rest of the population.  This will lead to them being denied services and opportunities at a much higher rate than the rest of the population.

We urge you to write your State representatives and ask them to vote NO on AB-2261.  It will do far more damage than good.

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

Closing the Beckworth Library

May 4, 2020

Council President Gómez
City Administration Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Cate
City Administration Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Moreno
City Administration Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Bry
City Administration Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Kersey
City Administration Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Sherman
City Administration Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Campbell
City Administration Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Montgomery
City Administration Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Ward
City Administration Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Re: The Beckworth Library

Dear Members of the San Diego City Council,

There is a proposal to close the Beckworth Library, near the Educational Cultural Complex.  We understand why you might close it, as it is not the busiest of our libraries.  

However, that library serves a community that desperately needs access to information, be it printed or online.  Many families in the communities it serves, including Lincoln Park, Mount Hope, Chollas View, Mountain View, Southcrest and Shelton, are under stress in the best of times, let alone during COVID-19 and its aftermath.  They NEED a library to provide the books Internet access, and quiet workspace that a Library provides.

Like so many facilities in Southeastern San Diego, it is small, sited inconveniently, and lacks many of the latest amenities.  Perhaps THAT is why it is under-used.

We call on you to find a way to keep the Beckworth Library open AND to begin to investigate siting a new library to serve the District 4 and District 9 communities.  Once we have a modern, convenient, upgraded library for our communities, you may have our blessing on closing Beckworth.

Perhaps, if funds are tight, the City could unload one or two of its unprofitable golf courses.  We fail to understand why an additional $15M needs to be spent to renovate these courses, when 2020 revenues were already projected flat and costs up by $1M, before the impact of COVID-19.  We realize that the three courses taken together have eked out a meager profit, but all that profit is from Torrey Pines.  Surely one of the two money-losers could go.  Not only would we stop sending good money after bad, but we would receive a new infusion of property tax revenue that could be used to foster learning and working for community residents.

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

Harris & Others Reintroduce Black Maternal Health Week Bill

We are in strong support of Senator Harris’ bill and here reproduce her press release:

Harris, 22 Senators Reintroduce Resolution Designating April 11-17 as Black Maternal Health Week

WASHINGTON, D.C. —On Monday, U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) led 22 of her colleagues in reintroducing a resolution to designate April 11-17, 2020 as Black Maternal Health Week to raise awareness about the Black maternal health crisis. The resolution was led in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC).

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Black mothers in the United States are three to four times more likely than white mothers to die from pregnancy-related complications and are two times more likely than white mothers to suffer from pregnancy-related illnesses, known as maternal morbidities.

“The potential ramifications that could come with giving birth during the coronavirus pandemic — specifically a pandemic that is disproportionately impacting African Americans — is of particular concern to Black women who were already facing a maternal health crisis in our country,” said Senator Harris. “Now more than ever, we need to address this issue. During Black Maternal Health Week, we must continue in the fight to ensure Black women are taken seriously when they speak about their health concerns, and remove disparities and implicit bias from our health care system.”

Joining Harris on the resolution are Senators Merkley (D-OR), Durbin (D-IL), Blumenthal (D-CT), Van Hollen (D-MD), Booker (D-NJ), Klobuchar (D-MN), Hirono (D-HI), Markey (D-MA), Jones (D-AL), Duckworth (D-IL), Menendez (D-NJ), Wyden (D-OR), Sanders (I-VT), Feinstein (D-CA), Murray (D-WA), Bennet (D-CO), Baldwin (D-WI), Peters (D-MI), Smith (D-MN), Brown (D-OH), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Stabenow (D-MI), and Gillibrand (D-NY).

The resolution is sponsored by Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Center for Reproductive Rights, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Black Women’s Health Imperative, Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), Commonsense Childbirth, Every Mother Counts, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, March for Moms, National Birth Equity Collaborative, National Black Midwives Alliance, National Medical Association, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Perinatal Task Force, National Women’s Law Center, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Southern Birth Justice Network, and WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease.

“This resolution says, unequivocally, that Black Moms matter,” said Representative Adams, co-founder and co-chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus. “I’m proud to stand with my colleagues to raise awareness of Black Maternal Health Week, and urge our Congressional leaders to take action on one of the greatest public health crises of our time.”

“The Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA) thanks Senator Harris and Congresswoman Adams for their continued support and amplification of Black Maternal Health Week (#BMHW20). As the founders of #BMHW20, BMMA believes that the experiences, voices, and maternity care work of Black women must be centered in order to address the U.S. maternal health crisis – hence the importance of recognizing April 11th – 17th as Black Maternal Health Week!” said Angela D. Aina, Interim Executive Director of BMMA.

“The Center for Reproductive Rights applauds Senator Kamala Harris and Congresswoman Alma Adams on the introduction of this year’s Black Maternal Health Week Resolution. Now more than ever we need recognition of this crisis and federal solutions to save the lives of Black mothers,” said Jennifer Jacoby, Federal Policy Counsel.  Breana Lipscomb, Senior Manager, U.S. Maternal Health and Rights Initiative, and BMMA Board Member added, “The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that chronic underinvestment in the public health infrastructure is deadly and Black people pay the price. This year’s resolution is a call to action, reminding us that in this time of crisis we cannot sacrifice the human rights of birthing people.”

“Black Maternal Health Week is an important opportunity to bring national attention to the maternal mortality crisis facing Black women. This is a year like no other, as we grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, an emergency that is endangering the health and economic well-being of millions and having a particularly harmful–and deadly–impact on the Black community. Sadly, we know the maternal mortality crisis and COVID-19 disparities share a common underlying force: racism and structural inequality. Now is the time to address those evils in this country once and for all, and do all that we can to ensure health equity along racial lines,” said Dr. Jamila Taylor, Director of Health Care Reform and Senior Fellow for the Century Foundation

The United States is one of only 13 countries in the world where rates of illness and death during pregnancy are on the rise. From 2000 to 2014, the U.S. experienced a substantial increase of 26.6 percent in maternal mortality rates.

A full copy of the resolution can be found here.

###

Censorship of NAACP Message on Racism in San Diego County Housing and Community Development Services

March 02, 2020

The Honorable Grex Cox, Chair
San Diego County Board of Supervisors
1600 Pacific Highway
San Diego, CA 92101

Dear Chairman Cox,

We at the NAACP are absolutely outraged by the actions of the Board of Supervisors.  First, we asked for reasonable accommodation to be heard during Black History Month. That was denied, by YOU, CHAIRMAN COX.  So, we were forced to pare down our presentation, split it between three of our members, and complete the presentation in six minutes.  

But, the more outrageous action was the censorship of our message.  In every other instance where slides were presented at the February 25, 2020 Board of Supervisors Meeting, the slides were broadcast by video to the public.  NOT A SINGLE ONE OF OUR SLIDES WAS BROADCAST. The slides that showed that Dwight Flesher was a racist, sexist, Islamophobe were censored from the public.

While we understood that the one slide that included “profanity” when referring to Muhammad and Islam would not be shown, the Board of Supervisors or Staff decided to censor ALL the slides.  The only logical explanation is that the Board of Supervisors or Staff decided to blunt our message and protect Dwight Flesher from being exposed to the world, despite the fact that he chose to display his racist attitudes on a public forum.  SHAME ON YOU. THE NAACP DEMANDS AN EXPLANATION.   

Francine Maxwell, First Vice President and Acting President
NAACP San Diego Branch


Founded in 1919 after a visit by renowned author, activist and NAACP co-founder, W.E.B. DuBois, the NAACP San Diego Branch is celebrating a century of standing sentry over the civil rights of the people of San Diego. If you need more information about the NAACP San Diego Branch, please visit sandiegonaacp.org/presskit

Racism in San Diego County Housing and Community Development Services

February 24, 2020

Re: Racism in San Diego County Housing and Community Development Services.

On February 25, 2020, the San Diego Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will present evidence to the Board of Supervisors of a racist extremist currently acting as a “housing specialist” for San Diego County Housing and Community Development Services. The San Diego County Housing and Community Development Services runs Section 8 housing for San Diego County.

The San Diego Housing and Community Development office is designed to help those who need public assistance.  Because of America’s long history of racism, Section 8 housing overwhelmingly serves communities of color and other disadvantaged communities.  Discovering that someone in a position of power harbors a deep hatred for the very people he is supposed to help, is incredibly distressing. Persons seeking governmental assistance are among our most vulnerable citizens, and they should not need to fear hatred from very County employees hired to serve them.

During public comment, the NAACP will present a series of facebook posts from this County employee, showing shockingly anti-immigrant, anti-latinx, anti-islamic, anti-African American sentiments.  Such attitudes should not and cannot be held by someone who is in a position to approve or deny welfare benefits.

The NAACP already has evidence, in the form of complaint to the NAACP legal redress committee, that this employee is using his position to intimidate people in need, particularly people of color.   In addition, we know from this complainant that at least one supervisor is aware of this employee’s facebook posts and views. The question is why this employee remains in a position of power.

The NAACP San Diego Branch demands:

  1.  An investigation into hiring practices that allowed a racist to be hired as a housing specialist, including who hired him and the record of racial complaints filed against him. 
  2. An investigation to determine how widespread extremist views are in Housing and Community Development Services. 
  3. A re-evaluation of all the Section 8 cases to ensure that people received the assistance they are entitled to under the law.
  4. The County take steps to protect vulnerable people by ensuring that this employee is no longer in a position of power over people of color, immigrants, and members of religions of which he disapproves.

Francine Maxwell, First Vice President and Acting President
NAACP San Diego Branch


Founded in 1919 after a visit by renowned author, activist and NAACP co-founder, W.E.B. DuBois, the NAACP San Diego Branch is celebrating a century of standing sentry over the civil rights of the people of San Diego. If you need more information about the NAACP San Diego Branch, please visit sandiegonaacp.org/presskit

February 20th, 2020 Executive Committee Meeting

The Executive Committee met at 6pm, February 20th, in Room 347 of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, 404 Euclid Ave.

Executive Committee meetings are public meetings, and anyone may attend. Only Executive Committee members may participate, however.

You may view the interactive meeting packet online.

Or, if you prefer to download the entire packet, you may. Please note that the packet has been updated with financial items that were not made available in advance.

Important: Tuesday Deadline to Register to Vote

Every election is important, but at the rate protections for civil rights, the environment, and the non-wealthy are being eliminated, this is an absolutely crucial time to make your voice heard. We have received the following information, which we pass along to you. PLEASE visit the official sites linked to in the following information, and make sure you are getting the correct information straight from the horse’s mouth!

  • Registration Deadline:  Last push for us to get the message out to have those that are not registered or those who need to re-register to do so by February 18. As we have discussed, it is important to have voters update or register on or before this date in order to avoid inconveniences that negatively impacts their participation in the election.After the registration deadline (Feb. 18), we will continue letting voters know that they can come to the ROV to register and vote. There hasn’t been any voting lines at the ROV, so now is the best time to act!  Here is our release, our tweet, and our IG post on the upcoming deadline.
  • Satellite Locations:  Stay tuned as all four locations are set and we’ve onboarded over 100+ individuals to staff the four sites between Feb. 29 thru the close of the polls on March 3. We’ll be doing a “teaser” of the availability of the satellite locations next week and post the actual sites at SDVOTE.com the week of Feb. 24. More to come on this, but again these sites offer almost all services that we have at the ROV office. The main purpose on election day is to have those that are NOT registered to vote to get to one of these locations so we can issue them the right ballot and avoid any long lines at the polls.
  • Poll Workers
    • Training Manual:  If you have any questions about how poll workers are trained, we post our Manual online so everyone can learn what the processes are at the polls, particularly for voter scenarios in a presidential primary election.
    • Senate Bill 207:  Urgent legislation was passed and signed into law by the Governor which will take effect for the upcoming March primary election. Because this bill was signed into law after we started poll worker training (February 13), the attached documents provide you how poll workers will be instructed to implement the new provisions.
    • Recruitment:  We continue to need poll workers and your help in getting the word out is greatly appreciated.
  • Polling Place List and Changes:  Some of you have asked for the list of polling places and the list of changes.  The polling places that were printed on the back cover of each voter’s sample ballot & voter information pamphlet can be found HERE underneath the “Public Notices & More” section.  Note:  Changes since the pamphlet mailing can be found underneath the main link. Please check it daily for any additional changes.

For more information, please see the Official Press Release from the County.

Feb 19 Superior Court Judges’ Forum

On Wednesday, February 19, the NAACP San Diego Branch will join San Diego Chapter of the Black Political Association of California (BAPAC SD) in hosting a voter education forum featuring candidates for the four open seats on the San Diego Superior Court.

The forum will be held at the Educational Cultural Complex in southeastern San Diego. Convening partners include the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association, NAACP San Diego Branch, Central Black Chamber of Commerce and the ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties. 

Black San Diegans are overrepresented in the criminal justice system and underrepresented on the bench. In this race, there are no Black candidates and little discussion of issues of importance to justice-impacted communities. For these reasons and more, it is critically important that people of color are informed and engaged in this election and vote their entire ballot.

All eleven Superior Court Judge candidates were invited to participate in the February 19 forum. Eight have confirmed as of this date (in bold): Michelle IaleggioShawn McMillanStephen Miller, CJ Mody, Mike Murphy, Peter Murray, Tim Nader, Alana Robinson, Mark Skeel, Paul Staritaand Roberta Winston.

WHAT:    San Diego Superior Court Judge Candidates Forum

WHEN:   Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 6pm to 8pm. Doors open at 5pm.  

WHERE: Educational Cultural Complex (Common Ground Theatre)

                         4343 Ocean View Blvd., San Diego, CA 92113