By Rebecca Paida
The saying goes, if you are not at the table, you are on the menu! This statement suggests that advocacy by supporters is essential but that lived experiences also matter. If people with first-hand experiences of a particular phenomenon are not part of decision making processes, then they will likely get left out. For many underrepresented and under-served populations, including refugees and immigrants in the San Diego region, this is a reality that they must confront. While some residents actively participate in civic discourse at the community level, that is the extent of their contributions. This is in part because they have little or no opportunities to affect policies at the City level and beyond, due to a lack of inclusion.