Mayor appoints city’s first race and equity officer

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Kim Desmond, who will serve as the city’s first Chief Race and Equity Officer, was appointed by Mayor Todd Gloria in 2021. (Photo: City of San Diego)

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Mayor Todd Gloria Friday announced the appointment of Kim Desmond to serve as the city’s first Chief Race and Equity Officer.

Desmond, the Chief Equity Officer for the city and county of Denver, will lead the city’s recently created Office of Race and Equity and assume the role on Aug. 3.

“For too long, the decisions and policies coming out of City Hall have not served all of us,” Gloria said. “Equity is about making sure everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Kim will help ensure all of the decisions we make are filtered through the lens of equity and that we end the disparities that exist within our city government.”

Established in June 2020 after the murder of George Floyd and a national outcry for racial justice, the Office of Race and Equity was proposed by Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe as a deliberate step to advance racial and social equity in San Diego.

“Kim Desmond’s appointment as the new Chief Race and Equity Officer reflects our pledge to lead this region in creating an equity ecosystem,” said Montgomery Steppe. “Our city needs a well-qualified, innovative leader to assemble broad coalitions and work with city departments to root out discriminatory policies.

“Ms. Desmond was the clear choice during our rigorous interview process,” she continued. “Her experience, expertise, transparency and bold leadership will help to assist in our city’s efforts to implement sweeping systemic changes in pursuit of racial, social and economic justice.”

Desmond will lead a citywide strategy to advance and implement diversity, equity and inclusion practices into the city’s culture and its programs, services and policies, a statement from the Mayor’s office read. Her office, an official city department, will provide education and technical support to city staff and officials who seek to reduce and eliminate systemic racism and barriers to the fair and just distribution of resources, access and opportunity.

“Inequity is a burden that impacts our collective humanity from thriving, so a focus on race and equity creates possibilities to design equity into San Diego’s policies, programs and budget decisions to remove disparities throughout the city,” Desmond said. “A focus on race and equity is an investment for all of us.”

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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