Culture, Education, Hairstyles and the Diocese of San Diego

Jan 17, 2020

A 16-year-old young man was suspended a week ago from Mater Dei High School because of his hairstyle.  While that suspension has been rescinded, it never should have been allowed to happen at all. Diocese spokesman Kevin Eckery said that “the matter has been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction;” we are here to tell Mr Eckery that the matter most certainly has not been resolved to our satisfaction.

The Diocese of San Diego is a private institution and thus Mater Dei High School is allowed to make its own rules within certain limits.  Religious organizations are furthermore given latitude by our government on issues of faith and conscience. This latitude is not extend to illegal discrimination, nor is hairstyle a matter touched on by the Catholic faith.

Hairstyle may seem like a small matter at first glance to the lily-white and all-male leadership of the Diocese of San Diego.  What they may not recognize is the cultural importance of hairstyle. While Catholicism is mum on the issue, sects of Islam, Judaism and even Christanity regulate hairstyle.  Furthermore, African-Americans, sadly remaining suffering as we do from so much discrimination, use our hairstyles as a way to remain in touch with our long cultural heritage.

We therefore believe that the Mater Dei High School’s action consists of illegal discrimination based on race, and is not a protected exercise of their religion.  We might have expected the Diocese of San Diego, whose all-male leaders wear dresses, to have a little more flexibility and understanding toward long-standing cultural norms.  We also might have expected the Diocese of San Diego, given certain practices in their own culture that have come to light in recent years, to keep its distance from the heads and bodies of young men in its care.  

We demand the Diocese of San Diego to do better, and we stand ready to assist any efforts they make to train themselves and their employees in the African-American experience, explicit/implicit bias, and cultural sensitivity.  We are celebrating a century of standing sentry over the civil rights of San Diego residents, and we are well-equipped to help rectify this matter.

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

January 15th Newsletter

  • March With Us!
  • Legal Redress Office Hours
  • Mayoral Forum
  • Housing is a Health Issue 2.0
  • Health Equity Luncheon Participation by NAACP San Diego Branch
  • Watch: ACT-SO on KUSI
  • The SDPD’s Failed response to the CAB
  • Voice and Viewpoint Gala
  • Protect the CRA
  • Assistant Secretary & Treasurer, other help wanted

March with the NAACP to honor Dr King!

December 27th Newsletter

  • Kwanzaa
  • March With Us!
  • Grossmont Still Expels Far Too Many African-American Students
  • Voter Registration
  • Financial Readiness For College with ACT-SO
  • Housing is a Health Issue 2.0
  • Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Conference
  • Mayoral Debate
  • NAACP Legal Defense Fund Victory in Mississippi
  • Section 8 Lawsuit Update

The REAL State of the District


November 19, 2019

The Honorable Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Education
1430 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901

Dear Mr. Thurmond,

Thank you so much for attending the San Diego Unified School Districts “State of the District” meeting at Lincoln High School.  I am pleased to see you so involved in our schools. 

As a community member of District “E” and a very vocal citizen of our school district, I need to inform you of just some of the more egregious areas where our superintendent and her board have failed our students.  

While you may read in the paper or hear in the media about her successes and triumphs as superintendent, I must inform you of the “Real State of the District” with the following factual information:

The Real State of the District

  1. The largest reorganization of the district has taken place this year and was hidden from the public which is why the 19-20 organizational chart does not exist. 
  2. San Diego State just published a report highlighting data exposing the fact that African American children are suspended at higher rates than their peers in SDUSD schools. 
  3. The district had nine significant violations regarding English Learner instruction on the Federal Program Monitoring Review and some items were impossible to correct so the state had to allow one-year accommodations.
  4. There are more special education due process filings this year than have averaged in prior years due to lack of support for students with IEPs.
  5. Community collaboration is only welcome when it serves a narrative that suits the district. The treatment of the special education CAC chair and DELAC chairs during their yearly updates to the board speak for themselves. 
  6. AP test rates and passing test rates have declined over six years—especially for vulnerable subgroups. 
  7. “Students aren’t a test score” unless Cindy likes the test. That’s why we pay attention to NAPE scores but ignore the fact that over six years SBAC scores have declined under Cindy’s leadership. 
  8. We know Cindy’s priorities—she’s her priority. That’s why without fail there is a media summary issued to staff everyday highlighting Cindy’s photo ops—but sites can’t get the staffing or support needed to operate. 
  9. Despite this and many other cries for support that we have seen in the news—this board of education just turns a blind eye—and this is the state of the district. 

While I have only listed a few areas of deficit for our students, it is most important that you understand the conditions that not only our students, but employees, are facing daily.  Superintendent Marten has reigned the past six years with terror tactics with employees that do not agree with her. Just ask the Human Resources Officer for a list of qualified, hard-working individuals within her cabinet that have left the district because of her bullying.   Her genocide of qualified African American Male administrators and cabinet members occurred because of her racial intolerance to people of color.  

I urge you to take a closer look behind the scenes at Superintendent Marten’s real story.   It is not what she spews to the public.

I am happy to meet with you and discuss this further.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Kind Regards,

Francine Maxwell, First Vice President
NAACP San Diego Branch

If you need more information about the NAACP San Diego Branch, please visit

ACT-SO Creative Writing Workshop

12pm – 2pm November 30, 2019

ACT-SO Creative Writing Workshop

ACT-SO is hosting a unique crash course designed to challenge your thought process and make writer’s block a thing of the past. Though our scholarship program targets African-American high school students, people of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to join us!

ACT-SO is hosting a unique crash course designed to challenge your thought process and make writer’s block a thing of the past. Though our scholarship program targets African-American high school students, people of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to join us! Don’t worry about materials; all supplies will be provided and distributed after a quick lunch to start off the class.

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April 4th, 2020

Hanging Display in Graduate Housing at UCSD


We at the NAACP San Diego Branch were deeply disturbed to hear that there was a display depicting a hanging person in Graduate Student housing at UC San Diego.

We call upon UCSD to take this incident very seriously.

The NAACP San Diego Branch is ready to assist the UCSD administration in responding to the incident, and making their campus more welcoming to African-Americans and other minorities.  This is especially important as UCSD looks to open a new facility in the East Village that it hopes will be of use to a diverse community.

Francine Maxwell, First Vice President
NAACP San Diego Branch

P.O. Box 152086 · San Diego, CA 92195-2086
(619) 263-7823 Phone • (619) 431-1633 Text