Author Archives: Staff

Position Statement on the Deputy Superintendent Nomination

January 18, 2021

At a time when Black children are suspended and expelled at higher rates than any other children on a national, state and local level, it is quite troubling to hear that San Diego Unified School District’s (SDUSD) Superintendent, Cindy Marten, has been named the US Department of Education’s Deputy Superintendent of Schools.

Dr. Marten in the past year has attempted to correct harm by having anti-Racist trainings that included changing policies on grading.  While this is commendable, it does not erase the fact that SDUSD has a history of harming Black children.

A recent report released by researchers at San Diego States University (SDSU) Black Minds Project sheds light on historical disproportionate rates of suspensions and expulsions in SDUSD. For example, the report found that Black males in Kindergarten through Third grade (K-3) are suspended at a rate that is 280% higher than that of their peers. The report also found that, in comparison to the district’s average, black males were 3.1x more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension and 2.8x more likely to receive an in-school suspension. To help fix this issue, researchers offered to provide free on-going district-wide training on implicit bias and microaggressions in the district, an offer that was never responded to.

On a national level, according to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2018, Black children had the highest amount of disproportionate suspension and expulsion rates nationwide. Black boys, who otherwise are at the bottom of the achievement gap, lead the way in the percentage of suspensions and expulsions, more than any other subgroup. Black girls outpace every other sub-group except for Native American boys and tie with Bi-Racial boys.

Educators at all levels must have a track record of dismantling the harmful practices of Anti-Black Racism that occur in schools. Cindy Marten has a historical pattern of allowing the excessive suspension and expulsion of Black students in San Diego. President-Elect Biden, with all of the qualified educators we have in our nation, this is not a good choice for healing Black students, families and educators, nor is it a step in the right direction for repairing harm in our schools.

According to NAACP’s Education Chair, Katrina Hasan Hamilton, “Black children experience Racial Trauma and racial battle fatigue as early as preschool from districts like SDUSD who are suspended and expelled are part of a systemic problem.”

Sincerely,

Katrina Hasan Hamilton, Education Chair
NAACP San Diego Branch

PO Box 152086
San Diego CA 92195

(619) 431-1633 Phone/Text
[email protected]
www.sandiegonaacp.org

Celebrating 102 years of civil rights advocacy in San Diego

Jan 26: ACT-SO Mentor Orientation

Join us at 7pm on January 26th for an introduction to mentoring high school kids in our ACT-SO Program.

In this orientation, we’ll explain briefly how the ACT-SO program works, cover the requirements, responsibilities, and rewards of mentoring African-American high school students, and answer your questions. This event is for folks who are already signed up and/or who are just interested.

To learn more about the program, visit our home page: sandiegonaacp.org/actso

To sign up to volunteer (mentor, judge, committee member, etc), visit sandiegonaacp.org/actso-volunteer

At the time of the event, join via sandiegonaacp.org/actso-zoom

Zoom Requirements

For the safety of all attendees, we require the following from participants in our meetings:

  • Have a (paid or) free Zoom account and log in to it before attending
  • Use a current recognizable photo of their face as the profile picture
  • Use their legal first and last names on their profile

For help on setting up zoom, please see sandiegonaacp.org/zoom-setup

At the time of the orientation, anyone can join by visiting:

Home Page

Urgent culture changes needed at Fire-Rescue

January 18, 2021

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

Dear Mayor and Members of the San Diego City Council,

In light of the insurrection at our Nation’s Capitol, it should be clear to all that the words and symbols of the alt-right and white supremacists are not merely empty threats and crackpot grumbling.  Instead, they are clearly an indicator of violence and hate-crime waiting to happen.

And yet, the symbols embraced by this movement are tolerated, and in some cases explicitly endorsed and permitted, by San Diego Fire-Rescue on equipment and at firehouses. 

The following symbols and displays have been reported to us as present in firehouses and on equipment:

Thin Blue Line/Blue Lives Matter Flag

While we understand that the ostensible purpose of this symbol is to honor the risk and sacrifice of peace officers in the line of duty, it has been taken up by white supremacists and is thus tainted.  While we also honor our peace officers for the risk they willingly take, this flag has always been a poor choice of symbol.  Its underlying message is not one of unity, but of division; peace officers as a “thin blue line” protecting “us” from “them.”  We can see from the different treatment of the insurrectionists and Black Lives Matter protestors who are most often perceived as “us” and “them.”

In a move with which we disagree, this symbol was explicitly permitted by the department, albeit as a temporary measure only.  It has remained on display long past the permitted time, and needs to be removed.

The Gadsen Flag

The yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag (known as the “Gadsen Flag”) is a popular symbol of the far-right and white supremacist forces that attacked the Capitol.  It should not be permitted on equipment or in firehouses, and yet we have evidence of its presence on equipment.

A Cornucopia of Racist Images

Beside the two symbols, numerous racist images are permitted in firehouses.  Black men and women are depicted as:

  • Stupid
  • Oversexualized
  • Overweight
  • Drug dealers
  • Ridiculous (not to mention the ableism and sexism on display)

[Not all images shown; more available on request.]

Such offensive images of persons of any race are best kept out of firehouses altogether. When a population that is overwhelmingly white uses offensive images that are overwhelmingly black, the message is clear.

This is all the more troubling since a firehouse is a place where people both live and work, in close contact for long periods of time.  A hostile firehouse is not only a hostile work environment, but it is a hostile living environment.  This takes a psychic toll on every firefighter who is not white and male.

This psychic toll only increases when management dismisses the concerns of whistleblowers. Responses such as “we don’t get involved in disputes between employees” are extremely damaging.  This damage is increased when such whistleblowers, whether they make informal complaints or formal ones through EEIO, receive immediate backlash from their co-workers (a sign, perhaps, of management collusion) and lack of opportunity within the department.  

We have previously written to you about addressing the situation at Fire-Rescue.  The culture at Fire-Rescue is not a matter that can wait.  We request you work immediately with the leadership of Fire-Rescue to show bolder leadership and implement policies and procedures to address the toxicity in the departmental culture.

Urgently,

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

January 21st Executive Committee Meeting

Our January 21st Executive Committee Meeting will be held online via Zoom.

Zoom link: sandiegonaacp.org/exec-zoom

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

Zoom Requirements

For the safety of all attendees, we require the following from participants in our meetings:

  • Have a (paid or) free Zoom account and log in to it before attending
  • Use a current recognizable photo of their face as the profile picture
  • Use their legal first and last names on their profile

For help on setting up zoom, please see sandiegonaacp.org/zoom-setup

February 4th General Membership Meeting

6pm via Zoom: sandiegonaacp.org/zoom

National PTA Presentation

This meeting will feature a presentation by Anna King, President Elect of National PTA and Otha Thornton, 2013-2015 National PTA President. They will discuss the long association of PTA and Black/African-American communities, and shared values, priorities and goals of the NAACP and PTA.

Anna King has over 20 years of leadership experience at all levels of PTA and was elected president-elect of National PTA in June 2019. She previously served at the national level as a member of the board of directors, vice president of membership and as chair of several committees.

King is also involved in other community activities as a board member of the Douglass Law and Public Safety Academy, a Salvation Army volunteer and the co- lead for Moms Demand Action NE Chapter.

Otha Thornton became the first African-American male president of National PTA at the June 2013 National PTA Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio.

He is a retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel, who earned the Bronze Star for exceptional performance in combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom 2009-2010.

Currently, Thornton is a doctoral student in Executive Leadership at the University of Charleston West Virginia.

Zoom Requirements

For the safety of all attendees, we require the following from participants in our meetings:

  • Have a (paid or) free Zoom account and log in to it before attending
  • Use a current recognizable photo of their face as the profile picture
  • Use their legal first and last names on their profile

For help on setting up zoom, please see sandiegonaacp.org/zoom-setup

Hope for Schools in 2021

January 11, 2021

The start of a new year always brings us hope. This year is no exception! A new president will be inaugurated in January, COVID vaccines are beginning to be distributed in phases and conversations around systemic changes in racial disparity are happening. 

With all of these positive changes, one would hope that the San Diego Unified School Board would be pleased with the $390 million from the stimulus package Congress passed at the end of 2020. But NO! In recent communication from Board President Barrera stated, “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done at the federal and state level to get schools the resources that we will need over the course of the next couple of years.” This statement is no different than any other that the board spews out each year. It is NEVER enough for this school board! Year after year they fail to balance a budget with whatever money they receive. Perhaps the problem is not the amount of money given to our schools, but the people who decide where the money goes.

During Superintendent Martens’ reign, there has been no decrease in teachers, teacher pay and/or benefit packages. There has been an increase in high-paying positions at the Education center where these educators never touch the lives of students. Money has been allotted every year to supposedly go to our most struggling students. There has been no accountability on where all the money is being spent. This school board MUST be held accountable for the new money coming from the government. Their past record proves that they do not know how to spend money on students first and not teacher raises, benefit packages, outside consultants, or legal fees to very expensive firms.

Teachers are currently teaching half of their caseload but are receiving a full salary. There would be substantial savings here by giving them a full caseload. There is no other job that has quite a deal like this! By creating a monopoly with six other superintendents in California, the state was bullied into giving them this enormous amount of money and yet schools are still not open. No other business would ever get away with this threatening behavior.

It is a new year. In the words of our newly elected President Biden; “Build Back Better”! We can do this. We can BUILD public education BACK to excellence and give our students a BETTER way of life.

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

Jan 22 Eviction Townhall

Join us at 2pm on Friday, January 22nd at sandiegonaacp.org/eviction-zoom for information on fighting evictions in your community.

Longstanding racial inequities in the housing market, along with widening income disparity and the economic meltdown caused by COVID-19 have made many or our friends and neighbors wondering if they’ll be evicted.

State and Federal eviction moratoriums are set to expire soon, and when all that back rent is suddenly due, many people will be at risk of losing their homes.

Meanwhile, local, State and Federal agencies are looking at extending and improving protections for renters and compensating small landlords.

Join us to hear from agencies on the front line of this crisis about how you can help your community avoid evictions. Find out about where to go for what kind of help, and where to find the latest information about changes in the law.

Join us at sandiegonaacp.org/eviction-zoom!

Zoom Requirements

For the safety of all attendees, we require the following from participants in our meetings:

  • Have a (paid or) free Zoom account and log in to it before attending
  • Use a current recognizable photo of their face as the profile picture
  • Use their legal first and last names on their profile

For help on setting up zoom, please see sandiegonaacp.org/zoom-setup

On January 22nd at 2pm, join the townhall!