Juneteenth is formally a federal vacation in the USA, however 30 years in the past in San Diego, a metropolis council member used the day to rebrand his district from the detrimental connotation that turned related to it.
On June 19, 1992, San Diego Metropolis Council Member and Reverend George L. Stevens held a mock funeral to “bury” the identify Southeast — a reputation that was usually used as a catch-all for a big space of San Diego outsiders thought-about to be high-crime.
“Why do not we respect these [neighborhood] indicators like we respect La Jolla, Level Loma, Pacific Seaside?” Stevens mentioned in 1992. “We do not look on the market and say that is West San Diego. It is disrespectful to us. We would like respect again. We would like our pleasure again. Give us respect.”
Stevens crammed the casket with the issues that folks affiliate with the identify, like medicine and gang paraphernalia, which have been all to be buried together with the identify.
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Stevens would additionally make sure the media wasn’t utilizing the time period Southeast to suggest one thing occurred in a high-crime space. He would name newsrooms on to demand the time period be taken off the air.
“He would name and say, ‘Hey Greg, it is George. You used the phrase Southeast once more.’ ‘OK, I am going to remind all people’ and we might work by way of it,” mentioned NBC 7 Vice President of Information Greg Dawson. “And, I believe he was, for essentially the most half, my sense is he was very profitable in the long term.”
Rev. Stevens paved the way in which for Black leaders like Tony Younger, a former metropolis council member for a similar district and CEO of Rise San Diego, a company to foster management in San Diego’s city communities.
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“Actually, it was a advertising sort of factor greater than anything. And he was efficient in ensuring that folks did not use it in that means anymore,” Younger mentioned. “The one portrayal of Southeast San Diego in a bigger context was from the media.”
“They have been masking a capturing or a poor efficiency of a faculty district or some dangerous connotation of what was occurring in the neighborhood,” he added.
The Celebration of Southeast San Diego
Three a long time later, the attention-grabbing funeral has left a constructive affect on the group, who has reclaimed the identify from its detrimental connotation and began carrying the identify with pleasure.
“There are occasions once we discuss Southeast that it’s acceptable with regard to some frequent themes that a few of these neighborhoods are coping with or experiencing or needs to be celebrating, proper,” Younger mentioned.
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Take these two award-winning hip-hop artists, Odessa Kane and SCVTTERBRVIN, who champion the neighborhood they have been raised in by way of their music.
“On the music stage and on the style stage, there’s loads of originality and loads of modern issues coming from that,” mentioned SCVTTERBRVIN, who grew up within the Paradise Hills neighborhood of San Diego. “It is coming from that casket he buried. All that good things is what emerged, that is what actually grew from that.”
And, hip-hop artist Ryan Anthony’s latest single with Mitchy Slick, and Grammy-winning artist and native Southeast San Diegan Andra Day, “Southeast Summers,” is a whole homage to the realm of San Diego.
“I am all about breaking the detrimental stereotypes of Southeast San Diego,” Anthony mentioned. “So to have the ability to put postive-positive vitality into the group, that is what I am all about.”
Corissa Pich, additionally raised in Paradise Hills, is the San Diego Police Division’s first feminine Lieutenant of Guamanian and Filipino descent. She says that rising up in Southeast San Diego is a badge of honor.
“It fills me with pleasure to say, ‘Yeah, I grew up in Southeast.’ In reality, everybody that I ever met all through my profession, after I ask them, ‘ Hey, the place you from or the place you grew up? They reply me with Southeast. They do not say Valencia Park, Paradise Hills, they do not say Southeastern. They are saying Southeast.”
Rev. George Stevens, who died in 2006, could have buried the identify Southeast, however as time has revealed, he planted a seed for group pleasure and accountable journalism.
Editor’s Notice: Dita Quinones is the sister of hip-hop artists Odessa Kane and SCVTTERBRVIN.