Councilmember LaCava
City Administration Building
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Council President Campbell
City Administration Building
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Whitburn
City Administration Building
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Montgomery Steppe
City Administration Building
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Von Wilpert
City Administration Building
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Cate
City Administration Building
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Campillo
City Administration Building
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Moreno
City Administration Building
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Elo-Rivera
City Administration Building
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Mayor Todd Gloria
City Administration Building
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Re: Southeastern San Diego Communities and their Names

Dear Mayor and Members of the San Diego City Council,

We at the NAACP San Diego Branch appreciate the new perspectives and new ideas brought to the City Council by its recently-elected members, and appreciate as well the different perspective that Mayor Gloria brings to City government after his time in Sacramento.

However, we have noticed that some of our new and returning officials are either unaware of or have forgotten some of the progress that has been made in the past.  Specifically, we are concerned by the large number of references we are seeing to “Southeast San Diego.”

We refer you to an article in the LA Times(1) from nearly 20 years ago explaining why “Southeast San Diego” is offensive to residents in our communities.  As the distinguished former Councilmember Reverend George L. Stevens explained:

I don’t think reporters would say West San Diego and have that include La Jolla, and I don’t think they would say West San Diego for Point Loma.  We want reporters to respect our communities. We want them to stop using a nickname.  La Jolla is not a city, it’s a community, the same as Emerald Hills, and they should give Emerald Hills the same respect.

If an African-American is shot it’s called Southeast San Diego. Southeast is moved not only geographically, it’s moved by race.

Reverend Stevens believed, and we agree, that “Southeast San Diego” has traditionally conjured negative stereotypes that simply do not apply to the residents of our communities, and should be avoided.  We think what Mr Stevens said about reporters should apply equally to City officials, be they elected or employed.  Whenever possible, we ask that you use a community’s official name, from Alta Vista to Webster and everything in-between.

If you must refer to the region as a whole, the correct term is “Southeastern” San Diego, not “Southeast.”  Time, effort, and money has been spent in renaming buildings and departments (such as the Southeastern District Headquarters of the San Diego Police Department), and we ask you to respect and use the names our residents have for their communities.

Thank you,

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

 

(1)https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1992-06-29-ca-947-story.html

If you need more information about the NAACP San Diego Branch, please visit sandiegonaacp.org/presskit(

PO Box 152086
San Diego CA 92195

(619) 431-1633 Phone/Text
info@sandiegonaacp.org
www.sandiegonaacp.org

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