Jeff Smith noon, March 8
- Community Blog
Southeastern San Diego: A Great Place to Live, Work, & Do Business
In my community of southeastern San Diego there are typical businesses: grocery stores, dry cleaners, discount stores, restaurants, and unfortunately, too many liquor stores and fast food spots which I believe, contribute to health disparities amongst many of my neighbors.
In contrast, we have a beautiful library named after Malcolm X; a major historical figure in the history of Black America, America in general, and in fact the world. For city government to name an institution such as a library, a literal vault of knowledge, after Malcolm X, the controversial Fire Prophet, (which is a great thing indeed),via the demand of its neighborhoods youth, speaks to one example, of our power and character as residents of southeastern San Diego.
Nonetheless, an issue we share as neighbors is the stigma of southeastern San Diego being so crime ridden; it’s not a safe place to live. This image, often the underscore of my community in the mainstream media, is a misrepresentation. The fact is my community is a great place to live work, and do business.
Southeastern San Diego is diverse in terms of the socio-economic status of my neighbors. Our diversity I view as a socio-cultural richness. Many people confuse this richness of diversity, as reason for conflict. I contend, to build a just and moral community, we must, recognize, examine, and respect the strength, beauty, and power which comes with our diversity. This diversity is richness, reflective of the world’s people, and what they bring to the table, as the best of being human in the world. I contend there is truly no way to describe a community, unless you describe who the people are that live there and what they are doing.
Recently, a Samoan festival at Market Creek Plaza, afforded me the opportunity to learn about Samoan culture. Furthermore, Afro Americans in southeastern San Diego helped to build the widespread acceptance and practice of the beautiful Afro Ameircan holiday Kwanzaa, which initially occurred simultaneously in Los Angeles and San Diego December 26th, 1966.
Currently, San Diego Area Congregations for Change (SACC), a small group of clergy and community leaders, is leading a movement regarding the release of incarcerated persons with communicable diseases to this community. This is a major public health quandary for southeastern San Diego, the state of California, and even, the nation as a whole. The problematic issue here is a result of negligence in health care of state and county inmates, which in turn has fueled the spread of communicable diseases to include HIV and AID’s.
SACC‘s created a 14 point Public Health Re-Entry Policy document, mandating access to healthcare education and services for inmates returning to community. SACC is preparing to present this document to county supervisors, to get it implemented in order to improve the aforementioned public health concern here in San Diego.
I cite SACC’s work as a living portrayal of my community. SACC’s work reflects a people and practice that counters negative stereotypes of my community. Also residents of southeastern San Diego have shown collective support for families in need. We have gathered in unity and strength to confront the established orders on issue such as affordable housing, civil rights, affordable healthcare et al.
In conclusion I reaffirm that I am a proud resident of my community. As I said earlier, southeastern San Diego is a great place to live, work, and do business as evidenced by the struggle and achievement of its residents.