SAECC COVID-19 Resurgent Fund

June 7, 2020

Mayor Kevin Faulconer
City Admin Building
11th Floor 202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Council President Gómez
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Cate
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Moreno
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Bry
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Kersey
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Sherman
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Campbell
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Montgomery
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Ward
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Dear Mayor and Members of the San Diego City Council,

You have recently received a proposal for a COVID-19 Resurgent Fund and Task force from The Strategic Alliance of Ethnic Chambers of Commerce (SAECC), comprised of the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce, Asian Business Association of San Diego County, San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has identified six game changers that address major areas of inequality facing African Americans.  These game-changers are the focus of the work of the NAACP San Diego Branch.  The very first of those game-changers is Economic Sustainability: every person must have equal opportunity to achieve economic success, sustainability, and financial security.

We therefore write in very strong support of SAECC’s proposal.  We stand ready to assist the SAECC and the City in changing the narrative of economic depression that has gripped so many communities in San Diego.  Business in our underserved districts both DESERVE and DEMAND a fair shake at reopening their businesses as we move through this unprecedented epidemic.  Furthermore, the closure of these businesses would have a terrible follow-on effect on the lives and morale of the residents of these communities.

The City of San Diego, in the persons of its Mayor and Members of its City Council, has an unprecedented opportunity to open the door to economic recovery for our businesses, if for once the Mayor will show bolder leadership.  The SAECC are united in a way never before seen, and we are right there with them.

Sincerely,

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

COVID19-Resurgent-Task-Force_Recommendation-10-00

Parking on Market

June 3, 2020

Mayor Kevin Faulconer
City Admin Building
11th Floor 202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Council President Gómez
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Cate
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Moreno
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Bry
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Kersey
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Sherman
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Campbell
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Montgomery
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Ward
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101

To the Mayor and the San Diego City Council:

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has identified six game changers that address major areas of inequality facing African Americans.  These game-changers are the focus of the work of the NAACP San Diego Branch. We are writing to you today to discuss one of those game-changers:  Economic Sustainability.

Our ask today is not expensive or difficult.  It is a simple matter that can make a great deal of difference in the lives of small business owners among our constituents.

 We ask Council President Gómez and Mayor Faulconer to justify the saturation of red curbs in the Market Street Corridor from 36th Street to 47th Street.  We have been contacted by many members wondering why they can’t patronize, for example,  Chicago Grill without fear of getting a ticketed or towed. Many service men and women who have dedicated their lives to this country work on the 32nd Street Military Base. They would like to come to the Good Food District twice or more per week but cannot. Where is the Diamond BID? Why isn’t anyone doing so simple a thing as examining parking to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve economic success, sustainability and financial security. We need 30-minute green curbs, as well as a full traffic study on the Market Corridor.

Sincerely,

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

Keep the Promises to the Promise Zone

May 30, 2020

Mayor Kevin Faulconer
City Admin Building
11th Floor 202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Council President Gómez
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Cate
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Moreno
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Bry
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Kersey
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Sherman
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Campbell
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Montgomery
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Ward
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101

To the Mayor and the San Diego City Council:

If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.
—African Proverb

For hundreds of years the lives of African-Americans have not been valued by our society.  We have been enslaved and discriminated against, either directly in law or by laws carefully designed to seem neutral but actually to be discriminatory.  As a result, we have been unable to accumulate the resources to cushion the effects of disasters like COVID-19.

We therefore ask the Mayor and City Council of San Diego to pay very careful attention as our society comes out of quarantine to those institutions that support people in the Promise Zone. You know our needs are dire; 97% of the kids in the zone are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.  The long history of advantage society has given to others means we need your assistance now.

We need that help now.  Use your influence to get Wells Fargo to fulfill its obligations under the Community Reinvestment Act and reopen its branch in Market Creek Plaza.  Convince SDG&E to open their office in the same place, protected as it already is by glass barriers, so people can pay their bills in convenience (many lack the ability to make online payments.) Find a way to provide more WiFi to our residents, so they don’t have to do so much in person.  Force the Business Improvement Districts to do their jobs and actually support small business in the Promise Zone.

We are weathering two crises now; the COVID-19 virus and the COVID-19 economic depression.  We need bold leadership to see all of our citizens through these two threats.  The people of San Diego will not accept less!

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

Mayor Faulconer’s Reactivation Coalition – Same Old, Same Old

April 26, 2020

Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

We read with a distinct lack of interest Mayor Faulconer’s recent announcement (https://www.sandiego.gov/mayor/news/releases/mayor-faulconer-supervisor-cox-announce-binational-and-bipartisan-group-plan-reactivation) regarding his coalition to reactivate the “economy.”

Our mayor is so consistent, he has hobgoblins coming out his ears.  There is simply no problem in the City which cannot be solved, in the Mayor’s view, by cozying up to big developers and big business, and getting his marching orders straight from the horse’s … mouth.

We will leave aside for the moment his repeated attempts to disguise handing out big contracts to his backers for the Convention Center by claiming it’s funding for the homeless.  Instead, we want to talk about his new coalition to “reactivate the economy.”

COVID-19 is hard on everyone, sure.  As usual, however, the rich have their mega-yachts to quarantine on, and the poor and the black and the brown take the brunt.  Artists, barbers, musicians, cooks, hairstylists, students and all manner of gig workers have been decimated by the stay-at-home orders necessitated by COVID-19.  To whom does the mayor turn for advice on crisis recovery?  Those who have been hurt most?

No.  In an utterly predictable move, the Mayor has gone to his backers in the big business community, so they can whisper in his ear their advice for increasing the stranglehold they already have on the wealth of this nation.  We are utterly tired of Mayor Kevin running home to Daddy every time there is an issue.

We call on Mayor Faulconer to show true leadership.  We call on Mayor Faulconer to show some interest in the life of this city BEYOND the profits of the rich.  It is not merely the *economy* that needs to be restarted, but *life*, and that includes workers and artists and food and culture and style and public engagement.  We call on the mayor to include more than one token labor group.  We call on the mayor to seek advice from people who see more than a balance sheet.

Unless we as a City, State and Nation take deliberate steps to cultivate the life of our culture, not just our wallets, we will end up in a nation recovered to a sterile engine of commerce, devoid of actual life.

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

When America catches a cold, black Americans get the flu but when America contracts #ThatRona, black Americans die

April 17, 2020

When America catches a cold, black Americans get the flu but when America contracts #ThatRona, black Americans die

PREEXISTING CONDITION: RACISM 

It is most certainly not being suggested here that the Corona Virus or any virus for that matter can be racist. No, but we all know very well that policies and governmental structures can be racist. Response times from officials during disaster can be suspiciously slower in black communities and the inability to rely on truthful information from officials can have a grave impact. It’s no secret that these structural disparities act as “preexisting conditions.” When manifested in the form of environmental racism, neighborhoods with majority black and brown people are often treated as dumping centers. This yields higher rates of pollution and lower air quality yielding more cases of conditions like asthma and other respiratory diseases. Black Americans need to to be advised regarding the future that in cities like Beijing, the face mask has long been a mainstay of the daily uniform for blue and white collar folks and all those in-between. Our air quality improvement is stalling, the planet is warming and our neighborhoods have new kinds of criminals – those that come to pollute our air quality. When the masses return to normalcy, protect yourself and your family by keeping the face mask.

DECARCERATION IS PARAMOUNT

Furthermore, jail and prisons which we know are overcrowded and disproportionately housing black and brown inmates need to make strategic efforts towards decarceration to avert disaster. In the words of San Francisco’s District Attorney Chesa Boudin on the subject of COVID19, “We need to let medical professionals guide public policy.” Allowing health professionals to lead us at this time is of the utmost importance. Not only are they held to a higher standard of non-bias, they understand systems of infectious disease. The air quality in our communities is not the only area we experience vulnerability, allowing jail and prison medical staff to achieve proper social distancing for those incarcerated is an area that needs a closer look as well. In response to the conditions at Otay Mesa Detention Center, Senator Kamala Harris remarked on 04/12/2020 that “The horrifying conditions at Otay Mesa Detention Center are unacceptable. Every day that officials continue to lock up low-risk and vulnerable people is another day that people in U.S. custody along with countless facility and court personnel, legal representatives, witnesses, and family members are put at risk of a preventable death from a deadly virus.” 

HOW TO STRATEGICALLY DECARCERATE

The method for decarceration is simple: allow medical staff advise us of the acceptable number to achieve proper social distancing. Next consider release of the inmates that fall into the following categories: those with misdemeanors, the elderly, those conserved waiting for placement in a mental health facility (a reminder that our jails are inappropriately serving those in need of behavioral health services), those unable to pay certain bail amounts, veterans, those already sentenced with upcoming release dates, and those with simply technical parole or probation violations. Identifying those inmates for immediate or expedited release means analyzing the population and intentionally choosing to take measures to save lives. A failure to do so means blatantly disregarding an overwhelming majority of specifically black and brown potential deaths.

TO DO LIST

When the COVID-19 war is over, black people will have an extended recovery timeline, similar to the AIDS epidemic (still claiming many lives in the black plurality of the ATL), the glacial response times during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans (also a black plurality), and other calamities long before this COVID19 pandemic. Once mass media coverage dissipates our communities will still be impacted, everyone else will be healing and “getting back to normal” while black Americans continue playing catch up. The post traumatic stress coupled with the preexisting financial and health disparities will have many implications for Black Americans’ mental health and pocketbooks. But stay awake, when the focus shifts in the media, that is the time to work even harder to be well and serve as a leader in the community by putting wellness and the sharing of resources at the forefront all we do. We can take the liberty of expecting that the long-term effects of this virus will have a disproportionately negative impact on Black Americans compared to other groups. When we started this race, the gun went off for us a few HUNDRED years after everyone else started playing. So wear your masks and only use digital means to contact the elderly. If you’re out of work take note of quarantine-proof jobs and use this time to develop new skills, write letters to the jails and prison officials asking for “decarceration” to save lives and properly achieve social distancing. Finally, if you’re one of those fortunate to still be gainfully employed during this time with a job that has you away from home, don’t fidget with the mask, try not to touch your face, greet people with a bow or an elbow (I loathe the fist bump, because you’re still using your hands), sanitize the moment you enter your home and embrace what Roddy Rich says about no shoes in the house!

DON’T FORGET

American Epidemiologist Camara Jones asserts that racism is a system that does two things: structures opportunities and assigns value on so-called race; and is the social interpretation of how one looks in a race conscious society. The structure of the systems have already deemed black and brown value inferior to others. So Black Americans should indeed ask, are we really in this together if we are not all in the same boat? 

CUT FROM A DIFFERENT CLOTH

In the words of the Reverend Al Sharpton, “If we can survive chattel slavery, if we can survive Jim Crow, we can survive this Corona Virus.”

Moriah Bradley
Chair, Health Committee
NAACP San Diego Branch

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