Community Leadership and Inclusion in 2021

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By Dr. John E. Warren, Publisher

For over three decades, the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint has watched the many experiments at community leadership. The recognition of needs for leadership is a good thing. Those who rise up to lead for the right cause, and who engage the people they purport to speak for, are to be commended.

But what about people who get together in their own little circles, come up with ideas as to what they think the rest of us want, and then speak as if they have consulted us? Such positions without the participation of the people they say they represent is merely the “opinion” of those would-be leaders.

Today, in San Diego’s African American communities, there has been no such call. At least to the knowledge of this newspaper, there has been no public notice of any meetings for the community to either share its priorities for the coming year with the City’s new Administration, or the presentation of any proposed draft documents for the community to consider. Those persons who have drafted such a document, if it exists, and shared it with City officials, if this has been the case, have done so representing themselves and not San Diego’s African American community.

Just as all communities have different voices and opinions, so does the African American community, wherever it exists. If there is such a group purporting to be the leadership of this African American community, who designated you as leadership and where are your notices of inclusion for the entire community? If you exist, then where has your participation been in the years that Black Men & Women United have worked to better our community and meet its diverse needs?

If you are about helping our collective community, then let’s have a discussion of ideas and an opportunity for ALL to participate. As a starting point, you might start with sharing with this newspaper, which in turn will share your views with the elements of the community we reach. There will be no charge for such a sharing, whether or not we agree with you. This is what the First Amendment is all about. The issues we are confronted with going forward in 2021 demand our collective effort in so many ways that we will not always be in agreement, but we must always be informed.

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