How Race and Place Play a Role in San Diego’s Equity

Dialogue after
(Left to right) Civic Engagement Strategist for Pillars of the Community Jess Jollet, Artistic Director for Wolfpack Entertainment Wrekless Watson, and keynote speaker Dr. Charis Kubrin chat following the "Race: Are We So Different" keynote presentation.

Where one lives and their racial background dramatically shape the privileges they enjoy.

This was the message Dr. Charis Kubrin, Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at UC Irvine, shared with more than 130 San Diegans at the Mingei International Museum this month.

“There is a strong linkage between race, place and privilege,” explained Dr. Kubrin. “Just look at any aspect in our daily lives for proof – education, safety, healthcare and jobs, to name a few.”

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Race: Are We So Different?

On May 11, local leaders and community members came together in Balboa Park to talk about how race and location can put people at a significant disadvantage.

The event was part of the ongoing Center for Civic Engagement Future40 Series that raises provocative questions to address some of the San Diego region’s greatest challenges.

Future40 Attendees
Attendees gathered at the Mingei International Museum to watch Dr. Charis Kubrin discuss racial inequity in San Diego. Click the image above to view the photo album from the event.

Click here to see the photo album from the event >

Guests joined Dr. Kubrin, moderator Jess Jollett, Civic Engagement Strategist for Pillars of the Community, and other local leaders, in a powerful dialogue based on Kubrin’s research about how our socioeconomic status and the opportunities we’re afforded have a direct correlation with the color of our skin and the communities we live in.

During the presentation, Dr. Kubrin spotlighted the example of prosecutors using rap lyrics to convict young men and women of crimes they did not commit. By doing so, the criminal justice system turns artists into criminals and unfairly targets people of color for a form of expression, she shared.

In addition, Dr. Kubrin explained that the lack of opportunities and basic resources in underprivileged communities creates a downward spiral that often leads people toward crime and ultimately into a cycle of recidivism.

Working Together

In order to fix the inequities across the San Diego region and advance a vibrant quality of life for everyone, community leaders from philanthropy, business, academia, nonprofits and government are coming together to address challenges that exist today for a more equitable tomorrow.

Following the presentation, guests continued the conversation at the Museum of Man to talk about what they learned and share ideas about potential solutions. They also had a chance to more deeply explore the topic of race by touring the museum’s new exhibit, Race: Are We So Different?

Region-wide equity and change cannot come overnight, but by bringing together diverse voices from across the region, we can begin to understand the ‘what’ to better identify the ‘how.’

If you missed the latest Future40 Series event, watch the video below and share with your peers to help grow a more vibrant San Diego.

Learn More About the Future40 Series