San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria on Monday announced an empowerment policy plan for San Diego's Black community focusing on housing, economic mobility, the effects of climate change, police reform, educational barriers and differing health outcomes in the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Systemic problems remain within our nation that have often left Black communities disenfranchised and disregarded,'' Gloria said. "With the help of my Black Advisory Group and community members, we have developed a framework to tackle some of our Black community's most pressing issues. This plan will create opportunities for the Black community to thrive today and for generations to come.''
In February, Gloria formed the nine-member advisory group made of local Black leaders with the intention of taking on some of the unique challenges and systemic racism that community faces on a daily basis.
"For far too long, we have seen the devastating impacts of systemic racism on the Black community in housing, police practices, environmental injustices and a lack of access to quality health and educational resources," said Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe, chair of the council's Committee on Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods.
"The mayor's plan takes a crucial step in amplifying the decades-long efforts of many community activists, advocates and allies in the movement to dismantle the policies in our region that have harmed Black people, and I look forward to continuing my work to address the disparate treatment of our communities of concern,'' Montgomery Steppe said.
The empowerment plan itself does not offer much in the way of specific details. Rather, it is intended to serve as a framework as the city attempts to lessen or eliminate race-based injustice through a series of short-, medium- and long-term goals. Some of those goals include expanding work-force development programs in underserved communities, establishing a middle-income housing trust fund to provide capital to build middle-income housing, strengthening peace officer bias training, implementing the city's climate action plan, exploring a free youth bus pass to allow families and students a safe option to get to work and school, and focusing health care resources in communities with underserved communities.
Black people in San Diego represent around 6% of the city's population. Gloria said it is a priority to work together with the Black community to develop a set of policies aimed at empowerment and upward mobility.
"As we advance toward more action in creating equity for the Black community, it will be an honor to know that the decisions and plans presented were carefully thought out and accepted as ways to achieve this goal,'' said April Laster, founder of Open Heart Leaders and a member of Gloria's Black Advisory Group. "We hope that in light of all that is going on, that the community supports the board in patience and understanding as we proceed to change the narrative of the Black community.''
A copy of the plan and the short-, medium- and long-term goals can be