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Truth to Power

 

 

April 14, 2021

Greetings and Good Day to all,

First and foremost, on behalf of the Education Committee, I would like to commend all students and families for their endurance during these tumultuous times. Additionally, we wish our Muslim students Ramadan Mubarak during the beginning of their fasting.

As more San Diego schools “physically” reopened on April 12th to offer students the option of hybrid learning (onsite instruction for a set number of days versus completely learning online), we know this journey has not been easy. 

Furthermore, when it comes to equity, we are aware that all schools are still not created equal. It is up to our community to advocate for our children, youth, families, and educators, keeping in mind that when it comes to education, students must always come first.

For nearly a year, countless San Diego TK through 12 grade students endured the dual impact of COVID and racism, including Anti-Blackness and Anti-Asian hate. This on top of the toll our students, regardless of race, endured while learning online can be overwhelming and exhausting, and cause anxiety, stress, and depression.

Many of our students are not okay and unfortunately some will experience even more trauma when returning back to school.

Being mindful of the work ahead, we urge districts to ensure that each of your school sites are staffed with their own designated counselor that is not traveling to multiple school sites. Our schools and students need at least one full-time counselor at the elementary level and two to three counselors at the secondary level, to support the social-emotional well-being of our students, families, and teachers. Ideally, counselors should be trained/certified in trauma-informed care.

We also remind districts of the urgency of placing full-time nurses at each school site. While our teachers and other staff members are fully vaccinated, students under the age of 16 are currently not, which can cause even more anxiety in families. Having a nurse stationed at each site will help mitigate any issues that may arise as we all strive to keep everyone safe, including grandparents and caregivers at home. 

With the recent incident involving an 11th Grade student and police at school that tragically ended in his death, it is time we place the mental health, social emotional support and safety of our students, families and staff as our top priority.

Thanks to federal funding from the CARES-ACT for COVID-19-related school districts and charter schools re-openings, California schools have received $15.3 Billion. It is exciting to know that in our reopening efforts in placing students first, San Diego School Districts can perhaps follow in Los Angeles Unified School District’s commendable efforts to divert school police funding to hire 35 full-time counselors as part of their Black Student Achievement Plan by:      

  • Hiring the number of nurses needed to place one at every single school.

  • Hiring enough culturally responsive, trauma-informed counselors to have the proper student-to-counselor ratio at every school.

  • Reduce school police funding, as fewer police will be needed due to the presence of counselors!

The NAACP San Diego Branch along with our community partners, looks forward to working with districts like Grossmont Union High School, Cajon Valley Union Elementary, La Mesa-Spring Valley, Sweetwater Union High School and San Diego Unified who, as the second largest district in the state received $343M (largely in part to school demographics and needs, including our District E schools). We must work together to improve the outcomes of our children and youth who need us the most.

Sincerely,

Katrina Hasan Hamilton, Education Committee 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

The Performance of Lincoln Cluster

April 1, 2021

Lincoln High School is perhaps the ONLY school in San Diego Unified that runs on its own. This is apparent by the continually revolving door of administrators that the San Diego School Board and the Superintendent place at that site.  There is no other school that would allow this kind of upheaval every few years.   School Board Member Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne apparently has no issues providing her District E community with continually unstable leadership for students who deserve our very best.  She states, “We have not put together a comprehensive, coordinated picture for Lincoln High School because those students are indicative of other kids in the district who are not achieving.”   But there are no other schools that have had more attention paid to them, money given to them and visits by the Superintendent than Lincoln High School.  One can only surmise that Dr. Whitehurst-Payne fails to recognize that the students at Lincoln can and do succeed despite her lack of knowledge on how to make that happen.  Thanks to the teachers, coaches, parents and community members, Lincoln students are striving and gaining acceptance to many colleges— without any real leadership at the site. 

The current Principal refers to her first year on the job as a “planning year.”  No wonder the site cannot move forward!  Anybody who knows how to run a school site will tell you that prior to being hired as a principal, you must have your “First 90-Day Plan” ready to implement on day 1.   This allows the students and teachers to know what is being expected of them from the start of the new school year.   What becomes of all the students during year one, while she is “planning?”  Given all the upheaval that has occurred over the past 14 years, is it any wonder that educational strides have not been achieved?   Teachers deserve a stable administration if they are to move the students forward and to learn innovative strategies to give their students every opportunity possible for success.  

Board Member Dr. Whitehurst-Payne also suggests that Lincoln High School must be the District’s number one priority, but fails to discuss how to make that happen.   By selecting the current principal, Stephanie Brown, Dr. Whitehurst-Payne agreed to promote a principal who had the highest suspension rate for African American males in the district!   This is preposterous.  The actions taken by Dr. Whitehurst-Payne prove that she has once again failed miserably to enhance the environment and educational rigor at Lincoln.  This seems to be the game-plan of the current school board as well.   The accountability factor for every board member continues to erode as other sites face similar challenging situations with no resolution from the school board.  The one constant from the school board is that real transparency will continue to disintegrate with the same people sitting on the dais. Words without actions are just words.

Students will return to school after a year of so-called “online” schooling on April 12th.  Students at Lincoln High School will return to chaos and disregard for their learning.  Shame on you, Dr. Whitehurst-Payne.   Our students deserve much more than you “say” you are doing. 

Francine Maxwell, 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

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

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No Charges in Shooting of Shoplifter?

March 31, 2021

A Black man, Zhadius Penn, was shot and killed by a security guard at the Ralph’s supermarket in downtown San Diego on the night of February 12th, 2021.  According to news reports, the circumstances were as follows:

Mr. Penn was confronted by the guard on suspicion of attempting to shoplift a bottle of alcohol.  Mr. Penn threw the bottle of alcohol at the guard, cutting the guard’s head, and then fled the store.  The guard used his gun to shoot at Penn, who by that time was outside the supermarket.  Mr. Penn was hit and pronounced dead at the hospital.

According to these same news reports, the San Diego County DA is not going to prosecute the security guard, because the guard was acting in self-defense.

We are left with the following questions:

  • How is killing a man who is running away “self-defense”?
  • Did the guard chase Mr. Penn before shooting him?  How would that be self-defense?
  • How safe is it to shoot through an open doorway, with limited visibility, into the darkness?  Had Mr. Penn not been struck, who else might have been killed?
  • Would Mr. Penn be alive today if he had been white?
  • Would charges have been filed against the security guard if Mr. Penn had been white?
  • Was the security guard an off-duty member of the law enforcement community?
  • What company employs the guard, and what are their policies and procedures?  Will he face any sanctions from the company?
  • If the security guard is a police officer, will he face any sanctions from the law enforcement agency which employs him?
  • Where is Ralph’s in all this?  Do they approve of what has been done?  Will they be pushing for change?

 

 

What we see is a Black man executed for suspicion of shoplifting.  Not, this time, by a sworn officer acting in the line of duty, but by an employee of a grocery store.  At what point will we see the District Attorney start protecting our lives by prosecuting the perpetrators of unnecessary gun violence?

Francine Maxwell, 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

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

SDBPOA Townhall

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Union-Tribune Article on Police Bias

March 30, 2021

 

Lyndsay Winkley
Lauryn Schroeder
San Diego Union Tribune
600 B Street, Suite 1201, San Diego, CA 92101

 

Dear Ms Winkley and Ms Schroeder,

We are writing to thank you for the article in Sunday’s Union-Tribune regarding bias in policing in the San Diego Police Department and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department(1).  You raise an important issue and make many good points.

We at the NAACP San Diego Branch recognize that policing is a difficult job.  We know it is made more difficult by the nearly complete refusal of our society to address the legitimate problems of the poor and the non-white, and to instead use policing to suppress their reactions to injustice.  

We understand that criticisms of policing, however carefully researched and phrased, naturally result in defensiveness and resistance on the part of many in the policing community.  We recognize that most in the policing community honestly want to improve the outcomes for all our residents, including residents of color.

And yet, study after study, yours included, shows that disparate outcomes remain.  Far more African-Americans are arrested than their share of the population.  Far more African-Americans wash out of our Police (and Fire) applications and training processes than their share of applicants.  We also know from recent studies and events that there are a significant number of avowed white supremacists  in our public safety organizations.

Unfortunately, decades of court decisions have eroded the remedies available to such disparities, leaving us in a situation where the only way to get a judicial remedy is for an officer to have conscious race hatred and be foolish enough to express it openly.  Amazingly, even this does continue to occur.

Looming over all this is the specter of violence.  Recruits fresh out of the academy are put on the street, armed with deadly weapons and nearly no possibility of judicial accountability for those they may injure or kill.  They have been taught that every situation is potentially lethal.  They have been taught that anything less than instant compliance on the part of civilians is a form of violent aggression.  It is hardly a wonder that terrified officers shoot terrified civilians, in what is a tragedy for both.  It is hardly a wonder that so many of these uncalled-for shootings involve Black and brown folks, given the biases that make them so much more likely to be stopped, and so much more likely to be considered dangerous when stopped.

It is long past time to study.  It is long past time to prove, again and again and again, that bias is an issue in policing and our society.  We cannot count on the courts to act, especially with the radical makeup of the current Supreme Court.  The problem of bias must be solved locally.

That is why we call on Mayor Todd Gloria and the San Diego City Council to act boldly.  That is why we call on Sheriff Gore and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to act boldly.  That is why we call on San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan to  act boldly.  There is much that they can do to start fixing this problem.  We would be delighted to explain in detail what they can do, now, to make progress toward “justice for all.”  Our list would start with swift and thorough training in de-escalation, include ongoing wellness checks for all officers, and swift progress with the Mobile Crisis Response Teams; it would not end there.

We welcome engagement with the San Diego Police Department, as well as all the other law enforcement agencies in San Diego.

Criminal Justice Committee
NAACP San Diego Branch

Legal Redress Committee
NAACP San Diego Branch

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Time to Fulfill the Promise of Progress

March 26, 2021

Dear Mayor Gloria,

We have previously written to you (https://www.sandiegonaacp.org/2021/03/15/stockton-economic-empowerment-demonstration/) about SEED, the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, which gave a consistent $500.00 a month to bring people out of poverty with a guaranteed monthly income. Supporters said it would give people the much-needed financial security to find good jobs and avoid debt.  Analysts found that it worked.

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan contains an experiment in basic income (https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/22319572/joe-biden-american-rescue-plan-war-on-poverty).

Now Oakland has launched a basic income program (https://www.bet.com/news/national/2021/03/24/oakland-launches-program-low-income-families-of-color-500-month.html).

Mr. Mayor, you know that basic income helps poor families, by providing them a little bit of security to go to school, to look for a better job, to weather the minor storms that more affluent people can shrug off.

We’re again asking that you join with other Mayors in our state for a guaranteed income.  There is a proposal in the California legislature for $1,000 dollars per month for three years for those in the program.  We are still looking forward to seeing you implement a program of your own.

Your first 100 days are over.  What are the next 100 days going to bring?  Will you advance a proposal for basic income?

When will the lives of Africans and African-Americans, who reside in every District of the City, actually start to change as a result of your leadership?  Bold leadership means bold action.  We want to see that begin to happen.

Sincerely,

Wiley Lane III, Chairman of the Economic Development Committee
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

Time to Fulfill the Promise of Progress

March 26, 2021 Dear Mayor Gloria, We have previously written to you (https://www.sandiegonaacp.org/2021/03/15/stockton-economic-empowerment-demonstration/) about SEED, the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, which gave a consistent $500.00

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Watch: SDG&E Townhall

We are grateful for the time of Mr Mitchell and his team. Got questions about what goes into your bill? Wondering about utility undergrounding? Come

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Black-Owned and Operated Coffee Shop Repeatedly Vandalized in Lemon Grove

March 22, 2021

 

City Manager Lydia Romero
Lemon Grove City Hall
3232 Main Street
Lemon Grove, CA 91945

 

Re: Black-Owned and Operated Coffee Shop Repeatedly Vandalized in Lemon Grove 

 

To City Manager Lydia Romero,

We, the NAACP San Diego Branch, need to know what steps have been taken in regards to upswing in vandalism and what has the city done to increase patrol or discuss surveillance equipment on the main street? 

On March 14, 2021, the exterior windows of The Hamlett Coffee Shop located at 7801 Broadway were smashed at 12:27am, Saturday morning and they are trying to find out who is responsible.

This is the second time within a 6-week period that The Hamlett Coffee Shop has been attacked. The first incident occurred on February 5th, when three windows were purposefully shattered, leaving the business exposed and vulnerable to further damage.

The Hamlett Coffee Shop was originally slated to open its doors to serve the Lemon Grove community on January 1st, 2021, but postponed its opening due to the reinstatement of the COVID-19 Stay-At-Home order. These recent acts of violence compounded with the impacts of COVID-19 have continued to push the business’ grand opening date and have created a great financial strain on the business and family. 

We also need the captain of the Sheriff’s substation to respond with the policy and procedures as to when vandalism of over two Black businesses, with one having a message left behind, gets classified as a hate crime? 

The NAACP San Diego Branch looks forward to hearing from you.  

 

Sincerely,

Prince Sefa-Boakye, Chair of Legal Redress Committee
NAACP San Diego Branch

Cc: Mayor Racquel Vasquez

 

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Nobody had to die in the City College Underpass

March 15, 2021

The NAACP San Diego Branch is deeply saddened at the deaths and injuries that occurred this morning near City College, when a driver left the road and struck many unhoused human beings.
We do not know for certain the reason the vehicle left the road. We do know for certain that none of those people had to die today.

Under the Biden Administration, hotel rooms for unhoused individuals are 100% FEMA reimbursable. Our elected officials know that a majority of unhoused persons are at risk of serious complications or death from COVID because of their underlying conditions, which are exacerbated by being homeless. Those same conditions render them categorically eligible for 100% FEMA reimbursement for hotel rooms.
It is raining in San Diego – why are rooms not being used to save lives and prevent COVID complications and death? If they had been, these sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers would not have been at risk from this vehicle accident.

There needs to be serious change in our priorities, and much bolder leadership from our City officials, to get people off the streets and into safe, secure housing. The money is there. Where is the leadership?

Francine Maxwell, 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

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

Watch: Eviction Townhall

At 2pm on Friday, January 22nd we had an informative evening regarding information on fighting evictions in your community. Longstanding racial inequities in the housing

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Watch: SDG&E Townhall

We are grateful for the time of Mr Mitchell and his team. Got questions about what goes into your bill? Wondering about utility undergrounding? Come

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Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration

March 15, 2021

Dear Mayor Gloria,

We are looking forward to working closely with you as you move San Diego to becoming a more prosperous city. There was a program run by other Mayors that could be used to help the economically disadvantaged in our fair city. The program gave a consistent $500.00 a month to bring people out of poverty with a guaranteed monthly income. Supporters say it gives people the much-needed financial security to find good jobs and avoid debt. It was the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration. It was run by former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs. He didn’t use any tax dollars as it was funded by private donations, including funds from co-founder Chris Hughes of Facebook.

Universal basic income has helped those who were hit the hardest in the economic downturn in our city-the foreclosure capital of the United States. They were able to track the spending habits through the debit card they were given. The categories where much of the money was spent was on food, utilities, and auto repairs.
When the program started in February 2019, 28% of the people slated to get the free money had full-time jobs. One year later, 40% of those people had full-time jobs. A control group of people who did not get the money saw only a 5-percentage point increase in full-time employment over that same time period, from 32% to 37%.

The researchers said that the extra $500 per month was enough for people with part-time jobs to take time off so they could interview for full-time jobs that offered better pay. They also said the money could have helped people who weren’t working at all find jobs by allowing them to pay for transportation to interviews.
After a year of getting the money, 62% of the people were paying off debt compared to 52% before the study. Researchers also said that most people moved from being likely to have a mild mental health disorder to “likely mental wellness.”

We’re asking that you join with other Mayors in our state for a guaranteed income. There is a proposal in the California legislature for $1,000 dollars per month for three years for those in the program. We are looking forward to seeing similar results as you implement a program of your own.

Sincerely,

Wiley Lane III, Chairman of the Economic Development Committee
NAACP San Diego Branch

CC: The San Diego City Council

 

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

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

March 9th “High Risk” Traffic Stop

The San Diego Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has yet to receive a formal complaint about the March 9th traffic stop on Park Avenue where allegations have been made that an officer pointed his gun at an 8-year-old youth.

We have, however, reviewed the bodycam video.  We share the concern of citizens and elected officials regarding this stop.  We have been in contact with the San Diego Police Department, and we will be inquiring about trauma resources that the youth may be able to access; we were pleased that a PERT clinician did arrive on-scene.

The SDPD video (youtube.com/watch?v=Y4_d4d63_vM) includes this frame:

Certainly in this photo the officer looks like his weapon is pointed at the youth, whose hands are in the air.  Here is a still from the video they say shows that “at no time” was the weapon pointed at the 8-year-old:

We do not think this video shows definitively that the weapon was not pointed at the youth.  We don’t think any parent would consider their child was safe with a weapon aimed as the one above was.

And then:

Community members have objected over and over again to the use of curbing.  In its response to a Citizen’s Advisory Board objection to the practice, the SDPD said this:

Department Procedure 4.01, related to curbing, was recently updated on September 16, 2019 to educate officers that community members find this tactic disrespectful and the technique is only appropriate where officer safety is threatened.

After careful review, do advise us on how the officer’s safety was threatened and by whom? Especially after he father was already restrained before the young child exited the vehicle with a gun pointed at him and was curbed.

The overwhelming passage of Measure B by the citizens of San Diego means the time for change is now.  We call on the City Council to call extra sessions or take whatever other steps necessary to get the new Commission for Police Practices up and running as soon as possible. We need to start repairing the trust between the residents of San Diego and the Police Department as soon as possible.

 

Sincerely,

Francine Maxwell, President

NAACP San Diego Branch

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Promising Steps in La Mesa

March 6, 2021

Last May, we wrote of the arrest of Amaurie Johnson by then La Mesa Police Officer Matt Dages.  While Mr Johnson was released without charges, Matt Dages was fired and is facing a criminal prosecution for his actions.  Now, Dages is suing the City of La Mesa for reinstatement, back pay, and damages.

Nothing in the intervening months has changed our opinions regarding the video evidence, which to our eyes show a level of aggression and domination that has no place in policing.

We applaud the residents of La Mesa for their increased involvement and activism.  We are warmed to see they are feeling included by the City and they appreciate the support they’ve gotten to help them learn their rights and become civically engaged. Their engagement has resulted in a new Community Police Oversight Board and a nationwide Police Chief search; things that have been out of reach for so many of our residents.

We are glad to see promising steps in the right direction for La Mesa, and believe that Dages’ lawsuit will be found entirely without merit.

Francine Maxwell, 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

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

SDBPOA Townhall

Twitter Youtube Facebook Instagram BECOME A MEMBER! Do you support our work?  Join the team, and let’s get to work together! Join Now Zoom Requirements

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