voices for justice

San Diego Business Leaders Hopeful for Social Justice Reform

Derek Chauvin's conviction is being felt among many diverse groups in San Diego, some share how the verdict is a stepping stone to broader change

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Following Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict, many are expressing how they feel and what they hope will happen next. The sentiment is felt around the country and San Diego County from political and legal leaders to local business owners.

“It’s disheartening to think that folks have to pass away for us to have this conversation about what’s right and justice and making sure that all Americans have those basic civil liberties,” said AJ Williams.

Longtime San Diego resident and Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream Owner AJ Williams has seen San Diego develop and grow and he says he's looking forward to social justice reform.

“We don’t want things in the system to prevent us, whether it be how we police or whether we're extended a loan or not, we don’t want active oppression,” said Williams.

We don’t want active oppression

AJ Williams-Longtime San Diego resident and Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream Owner

This thought is also being shared by San Diego social justice leaders such as Geneviéve Jones-Wright, the executive director of Community Advocates for Just and Moral Governance (MoGo).

In a statement Jones-Wright shared in part: “We must continue to push — as we did in unprecedented numbers all across the globe this past summer — and demand transformative and substantive changes to our policing systems. We must have real accountability, robust oversight, and authentic transparency.”

Donna DeBerry is the President of the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce. The mission of the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce is to create generational wealth through development, access to capital, networks and mentorships.

“It's very painful for me when I think about just the challenges that the black people here in San Diego are dealing with right now disproportionately,” said DeBerry.

DeBerry says this is an important moment to focus on equity, inclusion and diversity in all sectors of the county.

“If we're not economically whole, if we can't afford housing, if there aren't jobs for us, if we can't keep our businesses open, that impacts us, it's an ecosystem and impacts the whole community of San Diego,” said DeBerry.

Williams said he’s hoping the conversation leads to positive changes within policy and grants accessibility for all.

“We're having conversations that we’ve never had before in this country so that’s a plus, we're talking about things when I was coming up in the 70s, 80s, 90s we didn’t talk about this, it was swept under the rug,” said Williams.

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