Amid increased headlines about the future of civil rights, community development and social impact, I am reminded that change starts with dialogue.
Before we act, we must listen and attempt to understand each other. What are the challenges others face that we might not? How do our actions impact people both inside and outside our community? How does the past affect the future?
These are some of the questions I ask myself and others to better learn how to maintain and support a civil society that improves the quality of life for all.
Creating a More Civil Society
San Diego is unique in many ways. Our diverse geography, natural resources and communities influence and require consideration as we approach growth, investment, and change.
We are stronger and necessary change is more sustainable when we listen, learn and work together for the benefit of all.
Earlier this year, tens of thousands of San Diegans marched peacefully at the Women’s March to recognize the importance of all voices and all communities.
More recently, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer joined with Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum to announce a renewed commitment to collaboration between the two border cities.
The sense of partnership and community support shines throughout the region.
Here at The San Diego Foundation, that emphasis on a civil society is equally important. In Fiscal Year 2016, thanks to the support of our donors, we contributed more than $7.7 million to organizations promoting a civil society in the region.
Donors gave to groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego to protect the legal rights of all people, the San Diego Diplomacy Council to create connections across diverse groups, and inewsource and Voice of San Diego to promote the distribution of investigative news reporting.
And, the National Conflict Resolution Center is working throughout the County with business, government, law enforcement, non-profits and schools to help all of us learn to create and participate in dialogue that leads to better understanding.
As Californians, and as San Diegans, we have the opportunity and responsibility to protect and support our natural resources; ensure our youth are prepared for 21st century jobs; provide access to quality health care, as well as arts & culture; and through our work nurture a civil society that advances a vibrant quality of life for all our communities.
The initial connections we make and partnerships we build are the roots that grow civil society.
What are you doing to be part of a civil society in San Diego? Share your story in the comments below!
About Kathlyn Mead
President and CEO of The San Diego Foundation, Kathlyn Mead has been actively involved in community throughout her career. National Medical Fellowships honored Kathlyn with its 2015 Leadership in Healthcare award. Charles R. Drew University recognized her commitment to community service with its 2011 Medal of Honor. Mead was named a 2008 Woman of Distinction by the University of Southern California, received San Diego’s 2004 KGTV-10 News Organizational Leadership Award, and is also a 2003 YWCA of San Diego TWIN awardee.