RISE SAN DIEGO STATEMENT ON FERGUSON Issued by Co-Founders Tony Young and Dwayne Crenshaw
The no indictment decision in the shooting death of Michael Brown has stirred great emotion and diverse reactions over the past two days. Beyond denouncing violence and destruction, we don’t presuppose how anyone should respond, think or feel during these challenging times. However, from listening to the community dialogue around our recent October 17th RISE Urban Breakfast Club “Post Ferguson San Diego Dialogue,” we do believe our community should proactively respond and move forward in two ways where we heard consensus emerge:
Embrace and ensure timely implementation of efforts to equip with body cameras all law enforcement personnel, throughout San Diego County, that work in our neighborhoods, provide security for our transportation system and patrol the Port of San Diego and our border region.
Intentionally create opportunities for honest and civil dialogue around police –community relations and the civil rights issues of our day with an eye toward building understanding and consensus.
RISE is dedicated to fostering urban leadership and civic engagement. We call for peaceful dialogue and deliberate, sustained action to address the negative underlying issues that can cause urban despair and violence.
SAN DIEGO — A panel of experts said Friday that San Diego needs more leaders to emerge from its poor, more ethnically diverse neighborhoods for the city to avoid the kind of social unrest afflicting Ferguson, Mo., in recent weeks.
None of the experts said riots and protests were imminent, but they stressed that San Diego needs new leaders to help bridge the city’s sharp divisions in ethnicity and wealth.
Their comments came during a large breakfast gathering in southeast San Diego that was the first event sponsored by RISE San Diego, a nonprofit launched recently by former City Councilman Tony Young and co-founded by former City Council candidate Dwayne Crenshaw to help develop “urban leaders.”
People with potential to fill that role often struggle with an “us versus them” mentality, frustration that no one listens to them, and the more convenient option of developing their leadership skills in a gang, the experts said.
This question will draw a quick “no” from some, an emphatic “yes” from others and from many more, an indifferent “who cares?” Each response is understandable – after all, we’re talking about a topic grounded in issues of race, which we haven’t yet found a good way to discuss in America.
But we can’t move on or come to easy answers without comparing Ferguson and San Diego. We should struggle through a thoughtful and objective analysis of what’s happening in Missouri, start a community dialogue about what we find and dig deep together to come up with innovative San Diego solutions to seemingly intractable societal challenges.