Author Archives: Staff

James Jackson: 2019 NAACP San Diego Branch Freedom Fund Dinner Honoree

The NAACP San Diego Branch is pleased to honor James Jackson at our 2019 Freedom Fund Dinner!

James was born in Huntington, WV., from where he later joined the U.S. Navy in 1981, and married his wife Terri in 1985. James retired as a Master Chief Petty Officer in 2007 after serving 25 years of honorable service in the Navy. While serving, he volunteered in numerous community relations events (at home and on foreign shores). After the military, he became a financial representative in 2008. His mission is now to help individuals and families better manage cash flow in their unique personal situations, and to better protect and accumulate wealth. James likes to jog, play tennis and exercise, and is consistently active in his local church and community. This includes service as an Elder with the Revival Time Church of God in Christ, and volunteering with the San Diego Organizing Project and Boy Scouts of America. He is an active member-volunteer with the SouthEast San Diego Rotary Club , sharing the clubs motto, Service above Self. He spearheaded the formation of the current Boy Scout troop at Johnson  Elementary (sponsored by SESD Rotary). His focus in serving in Southeast San Diego is a personal, because in the 92114 zip code where he lives, African Americans suffer many unnecessary health disparities and are underserved. As current Chair of the UCSD Center for Aids Research Community Advisory Board, he is working to educate and inform, and to show that this community actually cares. In his spare time, James loves spending time with his lovely wife Terri. They have raised two sons, Kingsley and Isaac Jackson, both of whom they are extremely proud.

The Freedom Fund Dinner is an annual event that, in addition to celebrating our supporters, recognizes groups and individuals who have contributed to the cause of Civil Rights and racial justice throughout the City, County, State and Nation. This year will be an extraordinary celebration, as we look back on the 100 years since the founding of the San Diego Branch, and look forward to our bright future.

The evening is sure to be memorable and enjoyable for all.

Porter PTA Informational Meeting

You may have heard about our involvement with Porter Elementary. We are now trying to facilitate the organization of a PTA for Porter. You do not need to be a Porter parent to help with the PTA, or indeed to serve on the Porter PTA. As the PTA at Porter would be new, people with experience dealing with schools could be very useful to Porter parents who are unused to making their voices heard.

Interested? Email [email protected]!

PTSD Awareness Day

Army Sgt. Jon Harmon lost both legs after stepping on an improvised explosive device while on a mission in Afghanistan in 2012 . Today he speaks to commands and veterans about his personal struggle with mental health and how he works to overcome it. (U.S. Army photo by Kevin Fleming)

June 27th is Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder Awareness Day.

PTSD is a mental health issue cause by experiencing or witnessing very highly stressful events. It is a treatable condition, and no one should be ashamed of seeking help for it. Symptoms include depression, irritability, and an inability to put those experiences in the past.

Contrary to popular belief, very few people with PTSD are a danger to others, and none of them are beyond help. If you think you may be suffering from going through difficult circumstances, please make your life, and the life of those you love, better by seeking assistance from a physician or other health or mental health professional.

Here are some links that can give you more information, including how to get help:

PTSD Awareness Day – KUSI

PTSD Awareness Day –

National Center for PTSD – Veterans Affairs

Everyone who has been through trauma, including those who did it in service to their country, deserves the help they need to live a full and happy life.

STEM Camp Kicks off at Bell Middle School

The NAACP San Diego Branch’s 2019 STEM Camp kicked off on July 24th at Bell Middle School. This year’s camp has been expanded from 5 days to 8 days, and from 15 students to 25! We are hoping to make a difference in the lives of these kids.

The camp began with a tower-building exercise; one that has been used at companies like Qualcomm. Kids, it turns out, often do better that this exercise than adult engineers–never underestimate a young person!

We are so very grateful to our sponsors, SDG&E and Wells-Fargo, for making this camp possible!

Curtis Taylor: Headline Entertainer

The NAACP San Diego Branch Freedom Fund Dinner Committee is pleased to announce that the Grammy®-award-winning musician Curtis Taylor will perform at our Freedom Fund Dinner, in this our Centennial Year!

The Freedom Fund Dinner is an annual event that, in addition to celebrating our supporters, recognizes groups and individuals who have contributed to the cause of Civil Rights and racial justice throughout the City, County, State and Nation. This year will be an extraordinary celebration, as we look back on the 100 years since the founding of the San Diego Branch, and look forward to our bright future.

The evening is sure to be memorable and enjoyable for all.

Grammy Award winning trumpeter Curtis Taylor’s lyrical and melodic improvisational style displays a level of maturity far beyond his counterparts. His unique blend of soulfulness, harmonic sensibilities and rhythm melt together for an unforgettable sound that directly connects with the soul of the listener. According to Taylor, “ When played honestly, music is the ultimate conveyer of truth and beauty.”

Taylor has performed and recorded with Patrice Rushen, Billy Childs, Gary Novak, Bob Sheppard, Ed Motta, Marvin “Smitty’ Smith, Rodney Whitaker, Antonio Hart and great gospel luminaries Karen Clark-Sheard, Kierra Sheard and the Singletons. More extensively Taylor’s stint with jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut included a notable concert performance at Kennedy Center recorded for NPR’s Jazzset, an appearance at the Spoleto Jazz Festival, and a week long engagement at Dizzy’s Club in NYC. In addition, Taylor had the great opportunity to tour internationally with virtuosic saxophonist James Carter’s Quintet, performing in: Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Canada, and Austria. Rounding out the experience, was a week long stint at Yoshi’s in California again with the James Carter Quintet.

In 2014, Taylor relocated to southern California where he fostered a musical relationship with friend and mentor Kamau Kenyatta. Kenyatta, is a two-time Grammy-award winning producer for Jazz vocal-star Gregory Porter. While building the musical team for Porter’s “Liquid Spirit” album, he chose Taylor for the trumpet chair. Kenyatta stated that Taylor “graced the session with his elegant solos and precise ensemble playing” and noted his musicianship as “impeccable.” Gregory Porter’s “Liquid Spirit” would go on to receive the Grammy-Award for Best-Jazz vocal album of 2014.

NAACP San Diego Branch Goes to Court over Section 8

Please join us at 12:00 noon on Wednesday, June 26 at the City Administration Building, 202 C Street, for a press conference regarding the lawsuit.

The NAACP, along with the San Diego Tenant Union and Darlisa McDowell have filed a civil rights, racial discrimination lawsuit against the San Diego Housing Commission. The San Diego Housing Commission’s actions setting Section 8 vouchers significantly below market rent perpetuate racial segregation in violation of state and federal law.  

The San Diego Housing Commission’s actions prevent thousands of families with Section 8 vouchers—a population in which racial minorities are overrepresented—from living in high-opportunity, low-poverty neighborhoods that are predominantly white. San Diego Housing Commission’s actions force families with Section 8 vouchers into rental units in segregated, high-poverty, low-opportunity neighborhoods.  

The goal of the lawsuit is to require the San Diego Housing Commission to increase Section 8 voucher levels to allow families with Section 8 to rent units throughout the City instead of in only segregated, high-poverty areas. 

In 2016, the Obama Administration targeted San Diego because of its high concentration of Section 8 voucher participants living in concentrated, segregated low-income neighborhoods. San Diego was one of the only 24 metropolitan areas nationwide that the Obama Administration targeted. The Obama Administration directed these areas to de-segregate by using a different voucher calculation method. The San Diego Housing Commission announced that it would not follow the Obama-era desegregation method because it considered the Obama-era policy to be “nothing more than social engineering.”  The parties condemn these statements. 

For more information, please write [email protected].

A Voice at the NAACP’s National Convention

Are you planning to attend the Convention? Would you like to represent your Branch?

The NAACP’s National Convention starts on July 20th, in Detroit, Michigan. If you are planning to attend the convention, the NAACP San Diego Branch has voting credentials available. If you would like to cast your vote in favor of issues that matter to our Branch and our region, this is your opportunity.

Please contact [email protected] if you are interested in being a voting delegate. (Please note: we cannot offer financial assistance; just the ability to vote when you are there.)

For more information about the convention, please visit

Why Mitch McConnell’s Statements on Reparations are Wrong

Mitch McConnell has much to answer for when it comes to the oppression of the poor and people of color and the deterioration of our Democracy.  He has added to his long list of sins by his false and misleading statements on the issue of reparations to African-Americans for slavery.

Even the devil must be given his due, however, and we do not make the mistake of thinking the Senator from Kentucky is stupid.  However wrong his remarks are, they are calculated to appeal to the sensibilities of white people; not only the irredeemable Trump voter, but even those “white moderates” of whom Dr King used to speak.  They are lies, but they are soothing, appealing lies that white people want to believe, and that makes them powerful.

Most African-Americans know better, but we feel the need to set the record straight for those white folks out there who do not ordinarily think about issues of race and racial justice.  (Sadly, that is most white folks out there.)

Lie #1: “Something that happened 150 years ago.”  By this, he means that the oppression that was slavery ended with the Civil War.  That is false. Slavery has continued under other names right up to the present day; Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration, Voter Suppression–it all goes on.

Lie #2: “We’ve tried to deal with the original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war.” What a noble thing, to fight a war to expiate our National sin!  Shall we remind Mr McConnell that his State was fighting that way on the side of sin?  The Civil War shows just how determined people like Mitch were to keep their ill-gotten gains.

Lie #3: “Passing landmark Civil Rights legislation”  Again, Mitch conveniently forgets just how hard his region of the country fought that exact legislation.  He also glosses over just how necessary the fight was, just 50 years ago–not 150.

Lie #4: “We elected an African-American President.” Ah, Mitch, your evil genius shows through! Note that he presents the most statesmanlike and accomplished President of our time as simply a kind of “reparations.”  As though Barack Obama didn’t deserve the Presidency, but was only elected out of some sort of White nobility. We need only look at our current President to understand the flaws in the concept of “White nobility.”

Lie #5: “No one currently alive was responsible.” Sorry, Mitch, you’re not getting that past us either.  There are people alive today who beat demonstrators in the 60’s. There are people alive today who designed the War on Drugs specifically to target African-Americans.  And then, there are people alive today, vast numbers of people alive today, who have benefitted from the historic and continuing oppression of African-Americans.  Everyone who has family wealth built from the GI Bill or FHA loans. Everyone who has benefitted from the implicit bias in hiring experienced by African-Americans.  Everyone who benefits from the fact that pollution centers in African-American neighborhoods, not white ones. And on and on and on.

Lie #6: “We’ve had waves of immigrants … experience dramatic discrimination.” We deplore all forms of discrimination, no matter the target.  That said, none of the immigrants of which he speaks were captured in their home countries, shipped over here against their will, and forced to give their labor for nothing for their whole lives.

Mitch is right about one thing; slavery is American’s original sin.  That sin cannot simply be forgotten for its wages continue to this day.  Instead, it must be expiated. Justice has been long delayed; it must not now be denied.

–NAACP San Diego Branch Executive Committee