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Justice Beckons: We must dismantle racial inequality

June 18, 2020

Our nation is at a crossroads, and justice is beckoning us down the road to redemption. 
 
Here again, we arrive to a choice—redemption, or that familiar road where we are enraged for a moment only to be distracted and let up too soon in the struggle for equality. Here again, more Black lives gone at the hands of those meant to protect us. Weariness, pain and frustration have boiled into action; to simply be allowed to live while being Black is not enough.

Racist systems and structures perpetuating economic inequality for Black San Diegans are longstanding, from redlining in the 1930s, to discriminatory policing and prosecution, to discriminatory hiring and lending practices. One result of these systems and structures is that while less than 10% of San Diego County’s white youth are disconnected (not in school and not working), 18% of Black youth are disconnected. Among youth who do find employment, Black San Diegans are paid half as much as their white peers.

The San Diego Workforce Partnership realizes the journey to justice requires us to harness the energy of our outrage and maintain this momentum for drastic, accelerated changes to dismantle these systems and structures and their residual impact so that Black people prosper. 

We stand resolute in our vision for San Diego County of a skilled workforce and access to meaningful employment and we are committed to listening, learning and acting boldly to advance initiatives that:

  • Fund programming aimed at eradicating Black youth disconnection and preparing young people for opportunities in high priority jobs through programs that meet education and employment needs
  • Support the growth and exposure of Black-owned businesses in our community and commit to procurements and purchasing policies supporting minority-owned and women-owned businesses
  • Provide access to high quality jobs and reduce racial wage and wealth gaps

July 1, 2020 Update: To that end, the Workforce Partnership in 2020 is proud to announce in conjunction with our Policy Board our plans to invest specifically in the Black youth community for our upcoming Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth funding opportunity. The strategy behind our Youth RFP is to recognize that we must put our funding where our values are and serve communities with the highest disconnection rates from school or work. In 2020 we will launch this RFP to procure partners that specialize in outreach and resources specifically for the Black youth community who can lead our workforce programs, and help young Black San Diegans achieve a pathway to success.

The costs are too high and opportunity too great to turn back to the familiar road, and the journey is too tumultuous to trust that we will make it back to the crossroads again—now is the time for change.  

Justice beckons.

April House, COO, San Diego Workforce Partnership



Councilmember Monica Montgomery, District 4, City of San Diego
Vice Chair, Workforce Partnership Policy Board

 

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