Downtown Voices

All General Observing Black History Month with our Leaders of Color

Of course, we love the hip coffee shops, trendy co-working spaces, and nearly-constant sunshine of San Diego. But it’s the people who really make up the heart of the Downtown San Diego vibe.  Our urban core is full of passionate individuals who care about positively shaping this community and are committed to creating a future that is inclusive, innovative, and vibrant. In observance of Black History Month (but really, applicable all year long!), we focused specifically on those leaders of color who influence our Downtown community.

Keturah Jackson

Outreach Coordinator

Keturah works daily with the Downtown Clean & Safe program to connect individuals experiencing homelessness with safe loved-ones and support systems.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

For me, Black History Month is an opportunity for African Americans to take time to recognize what the people before us fought for. Black history isn’t just about the bad times we experienced – it’s also about true character traits like integrity, leadership, and determination. Lastly, Black History Month is a time of rejoicing, celebrating, and thinking of those who give us hope or even thinking about life lessons we can use in our future.

What aspects of leadership have been important in your story of personal or professional growth?

Being a leader came naturally to me as I watched my mother and aunts strive to be leaders. I’ve taken their example into my experience working in the social services field. I am passionate and committed to the well-being of those I assist daily and am dedicated to helping those in need.

What does community support or growth look like to you?

Community growth looks like everyone taking the time to together to help others – adults, young adults, and children – flourish in different aspects of our community. Whether that means making our neighborhoods safer and more approachable, or coming up with more opportunities for community fellowship, we can all help find ways to make our communities better for all of us and for future generations.

How have you been involved in your community?

As a resident of National City, I’ve joined community groups and church groups that have hosted parades and charity events. I have also helped host other art and music showcases for up and coming artists.

What do you enjoy about Downtown San Diego?

I love coming to Downtown San Diego for the many events that happen here. Whether it’s Mardis Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, or a big Halloween party, overall, Downtown provides fun experiences with great food and a great environment.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I love being able to help individuals who are not always informed on the different services available in Downtown San Diego. I’ve worked in the social services field for about seven years, and the joy of being able to talk to folks everyday and learn their stories is an amazing experience and makes my day.

Carol Wallace

President & CEO

After two decades at the San Diego Convention Center, Carol now serves as President & CEO of San Diego Theatres.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History Month is the annual celebration of the contributions of Americans of African descent to the foundation, growth, and development of the United States of America. It is especially important this year with the celebration of 400 years of African American contributions as the first slaves were brought to the United States in 1619.  Personally, each year I am pleased to learn of an invention, medical breakthrough, or project which has changed our lives significantly.  So much of this information has been omitted from the history books so I love sharing these discoveries with my grandchildren – the next generation of contributors.

What aspects of leadership have been important in your story of personal or professional growth?

I love the Nike slogan, “Just do it!” For me, that is the most important aspect of leadership.

What does community support or growth look like to you?

I am very pleased to see the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s focus and Mayor’s initiative on homelessness, especially in the Downtown area. I look forward to seeing community-wide support to address this issue.

How have you been involved in your community?

Most of my involvement has been with the global community. I have served on the board of directors of an international university located in Nairobi, Kenya for over 20 years and I also serve with organizations focused on educational development in Africa. Locally, all my volunteerism is in church or religiously affiliated organizations.

What do you enjoy about Downtown San Diego?

We moved to San Diego in 1991 and it has been a joy and a pleasure to see the tremendous growth of residents, restaurants, and activities for residents and tourists in Downtown.  Of course, I love the variety of artistic events offered in our Theatres as well as the Symphony and Summer Pops.  Downtown San Diego is so walkable, so I love walking around and exploring new shops and cafes in the Gaslamp Quarter and East Village.  I am enthusiastically looking forward to the redevelopment of Horton Plaza. I believe that project will be a game-changer for San Diego.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I have been with San Diego Theatres for 10 months although I worked with the staff for nearly 20 years when the organization was affiliated with the Convention Center Corporation.  The most enjoyable experience is working with an outstanding team of individuals who are the experts in their field.  Many of the staff have been in place for 20, 30 and a few for 40 years and a committed Board of Directors who have a tremendous passion for the Arts.

Regina Nolte-Ware

Supervisor

Regina works with the Downtown Clean & Safe program to ensure Downtown maintains a standard of excellence enjoyed by residents & visitors.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History month is a time to reflect and give thanks to those who sacrificed and fought to pave the way for racial equality. It allows me to think on the progress that has been made and yet know there is still work to be done. This month is not only a time to reflect, but a time to reach out and inspire the next generation to continue to work towards making this world a better place and to never give up on their dreams.

What aspects of leadership have been important in your story of personal or professional growth?

I grew up with a caring grandmother who experienced the hardships of segregation. From her I learned that you don’t judge a book by its cover. I have learned that hard work and dedication is the key to my success at work, in school, and my volunteer work in the community.

What does a supportive community/city look like to you?

A group of community resources that collaborate and come together to provide resources for the greater good of the community members.

How have you been involved in your community?

I volunteer for the City of San Diego Therapeutic Recreation Center (TRC), working with youth and adults with cognitive impairment. I volunteer at their events and participate in an adult workshop they host once a month. TRC is designed to increase leisure independence, community functioning, and social skills through experiential opportunities within the community and at recreation centers.

I also volunteer for Neighborhood House Adult Day Care Center for disabled seniors. I started there during an internship while getting my BA in Social Work/Gerontology. Neighborhood House’s ADHC Center, a person-centered care environment, provides dual day treatment program options to adults with disabling physical, mental, cognitive and/or intellectual impairments, providing a variety of cognitively stimulating activities in a “home away from home” environment.  I was able to lead some of these activities as well as conduct a meditation class for participant therapy.

I’m currently taking ASL classes so that I can volunteer in the deaf community with those who are diagnosed with cognitive impairments.

What do you enjoy about Downtown San Diego?

I enjoy the variety of restaurants, special events, and the good-natured people who travel and frequent our beautiful city. And of course, my job which keeps Downtown clean and safe.

How long have you been with C&S and what do you enjoy about your job?

I’ve been with Clean & Safe for 14 years this May. I started as a maintenance ambassador working the graveyard shift in the Gaslamp Quarter. Six months later, I became a supervisor and I’ve been here ever since. I love working with the community, the San Diego Police Department, and our own maintenance and safety ambassadors working together to keep Downtown San Diego Clean & Safe.

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