View this email in your browser
The Center banner
Monday, May 24, 2021

The Center's Next Steps Against
Anti-Black Racism

Dear Center Community,

In a year wrought with heartache and loss, tomorrow, Tuesday, May 25, 2021 stands out, as it marks one year since the murder of George Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. With just weeks until Chauvin faces sentencing, it is important to remember that this time last year, while America was grappling with the early stages of the Coronavirus, our Black community was facing two pandemics - COVID-19 and anti-Black racism. And while George Floyd’s murder was the flashpoint that sparked global protests and an ongoing racial reckoning in our country, he was neither the first nor last Black person to die at the hands of law enforcement- Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and 240 other Black people were killed by law enforcement in 2020 alone.

We know that San Diego is not immune to anti-Black racism, it’s embedded in our history, practices and institutions, including our law enforcement agencies. Well-documented data from the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) shows clear disparities in the number of times SDPD stops members of the Black, Latino/a/x, LGBTQ, and disabled communities- all of whom are stopped in far greater numbers than the white community, with the intersection of anti-LGBTQ bias and racial bias resulting in the highest search rates for Black and Latino/a/x community members who police perceive to be LGBTQ. It is not enough to say Black Lives Matter, we all have to put those powerful words into action. As a founding member of the Coalition for Police Accountability and Transparency (CPAT), The Center fiercely advocates for an equitable San Diego for all, with a focus on eliminating biased policing in our region.

The Center’s Black LGBTQ Community Advisory Committee (BLCAC), founded after our 2019 Black LGBTQ Townhall, has met monthly over the last 18 months to advise The Center on initiatives to combat anti-Black racism at The Center. Their dedication, leadership, and insight has been instrumental in launching and improving several Center initiatives, including but not limited to: programming (Brave Space, Health Thy Soul, Let’s Talk Tuesdays), support (acting as a fiscal sponsor for the San Diego Black LGBTQ Coalition - now their own 501c3 organization), and a series of anti-Black racism training for Center staff, board, and volunteers. We know that the steps we’ve taken so far are part of ongoing efforts towards healing and we are grateful to all of our BLCAC leaders that have worked together with The Center to dream up, map out, and move forward with creative and sustainable ways to better serve our Black community. Our work with our BLCAC has steadily grown and strengthened over the last 18 months and we are proud to share three important announcements: 
  1. We heard loud and clear from our community that The Center needs new leadership to better support our Black LGBTQ community and a Human Resources Department to better support staff and volunteers, and oversee agency equity strategies. To that end, The Center has hired a new member of our Senior Leadership Team, Bridgette Austin (she/her), who will serve as The Center’s Senior Director of People and Culture.
  2. We heard critical feedback from our Black community that The Center needs a dedicated Black Services Program with full-time staff. To that end, The Center is launching a Black Services Program in 2021 within the next few months, after we hire a Black Services Program Coordinator. If you, or someone you know, is interested in learning more about the position, please review our job posting here.
  3. Additionally, we listened to our community that The Center needs dedicated communication to our Black LGBTQ community. To that end, The Center has hired a Communication Consultant who is a member of the San Diego Black LGBTQ community, to create and launch a quarterly newsletter dedicated to the Black LGBTQ community in San Diego that will be released in 2021.
The Center is prioritizing combatting anti-Black racism and manifesting Black Lives Matter - it is critical to our mission, values, and community to ensure our Black LGBTQ community is welcomed and valued at The Center. And while we await tomorrow with grief, we also move forward with hope and renewed commitment to do this work in partnership with our Black community. As always, we invite you to join us in this fight because if there’s one thing our LGBTQ community knows, it’s that we’re better together. To learn more about ways to engage, give, and learn, please visit:
In Solidarity!
- Cara Dessert (Pronouns: She/Her/Hers)
Chief Executive Officer
This past Friday, thousands tuned in to watch a very special Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast. Although we weren’t able to gather in person, this year’s free virtual community event carried the spirit that we have grown to love over the past 13 years. San Diego’s first openly gay Mayor and former Chair of The Center’s Board of Directors, Hon. Todd Gloria, spoke and inspired future generations by showing their dreams can come true. We were reminded how important LGBTQ representation in government is, and how San Diego is a beacon for the County. In addition, we learned why pronouns matter, honored some amazing community organizations, heard a powerful spoken word performance by LGBTQ youth, and so much more. If you missed the streaming presentation, or want to view again, click here. Thanks to all who made it possible!

- Ian Johnson (Pronouns: He/Him/His)
Director of Development
On Tuesday, May 18th, Mayor Todd Gloria released his May Revise on the Fiscal Year 2022 proposed budget. One of his key highlights was a promise to fully fund San Diego’s libraries and ensure that hours and days of service would return to pre-pandemic levels. This is a clear example of how important public input is in crafting our City’s budget. Mayor Gloria heard the thousands of voices from residents who called, emailed and submitted comments during this past month who said they needed access to their libraries. But The Center knows that there is still much to be done as we continue advocating for an equitable budget, including advocating for diverting resources from law enforcement and back into community services. In less than a month, on June 14th, the City Council will vote on the final budget and we’ll continue sharing opportunities for you to get involved and have your voice heard.
- Rebekah Hook-Held (Pronouns: She/Her/Hers)
Chief Public Affairs & Civic Engagement Officer
Join us for events, trainings, discussion and support groups, and more via Zoom. Please visit our website, visit The Center's Facebook page, or call us at 619.800.4252 from 9am - 4pm or 619.800.4216 from 4pm - 9pm to find the right one for you. Below find just some of The Center's offerings:
Covered California has officially launched a new special-enrollment period to allow Californians to benefit from lower health insurance premiums-- no matter what their income levels are. This new special enrollment period runs through December 31, 2021!  Many Californians will be able to get a quality, name-brand health plan for as little as $1 per month or richer benefits for less than $100 per month, but only if they sign up for health coverage through Covered California. Those interested in learning more, call (800) 300-1506 or visit
The Center offers employees an amazing environment where community building, compassion, and care are uniquely combined with an insistent striving toward excellence and best practices. The Center is one of San Diego’s most exciting places to work, with staff renowned for dynamic and creative teamwork, professionalism, and unparalleled heart and dedication. Check out our job listings. 
We make it easy to share The Center's weekly E-News - just click this link and forward to a friend! If your friends would like to sign up to stay informed, they can sign up here:
If you are in crisis or considering suicide, you are not alone.
There are resources and help available for you:
  • Trans Lifeline: 1.877.565.8860 - For trans or nonbinary folx in the US
  • Trevor Project Lifeline: 1.866.488.7386 - For LGBT youth (18-24)
  • National Suicide Hotline: 1.800.273.8255 - For all ages & identities
  • San Diego Access and Crisis Line: 1.888.724.7240 - Free suicide prevention/intervention hotline in San Diego County
Copyright © 2021 San Diego LGBT Community Center, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.