San Diego’s best known cultural center with a history of celebrating the cultural diversity of the region and the people who work there have become the targets of discrimination.
The World Beat Center needs our support. This prized venue of music, art, and creativity is at the center of San Diego’s Black, Hispanic, and Native American cultures. Located on the fringe of Balboa Park, the World Beat Center (WBC) is under increasing attack that has been described as systematic, “institutionalized racism”.
The attacks range from unwarranted parking fines for WBC employees – some $30,000 in fines have been estimated over the past 15 years – and harassment from San Diego’s Vice and Fire Department, despite clear evidence the WBC had already fully addressed the primary Children’s Garden issues which somehow warranted these investigations. As many readers may know from experience, systematic attacks are clandestine and secretive, but WBC founder and followers know all too well how the ugly hand of racism reaches out to small groups and individuals.
Many believe the attacks were stepped up as a direct response to the WBC’s support for the Occupy San Diego movement, after the WBC hosted their first Occupy event and, more recently, when WBC followers helped organize marches to demand justice for Trayvon Martin, the young man gunned down in Florida by a self-appointed vigilante and neighborhood watch zealot.
World Beat Center – The Master Plan
The WBC is for the people – all people. The WBC is a place where community is built and experienced by all of San Diegans.
While Balboa Parks and Recreation leaders have long targeted the facility and its programs, the WBC was originally included as part of the park’s Master Plan dating back to 1989, allowing use of land as far south as Presidents Way. Those same plans provided for a plaza and amphitheatre, and even a bridge connecting WBC to the east side parking areas.
But that is all being threatened and the WBC needs our community to raise their voices in support, and to help obtain a new 25 years lease. According to Makeda and others who know how the system works, without a valid lease WBC has been denied several attempts to obtain additional funding through grants and other methods.
Monday 2PM, San Diego City Council Meeting Update: Public comments Tues April 10 at 10AM
Established in 1990 when the San Diego City Council decided to allow the center to move forward, the WBC has a long history as San Diego’s “true” cultural center.
With more than 30,000 facebook followers, WBC was founded by Makeda Cheatom, affectionately referred to as the Godmother of WBC. Makeda has posted a petition on their website requesting everyone to help support WBC at this time, and she asks that we all attend the City Council Meeting on Monday, April 9th, at 2pm.
As posted on their website, WBC is requesting our most respectful and honest support in several key ways this weekend. Firstly, please go to council docket page and sign up to be heard at the next San Diego City Council Meeting. Lacking the official docket number, simply enter “Save the World Beat Center, April 9, 2012”, along with any additional information presented.
Secondly, we are asked to sign our names to their petition. This takes about 30 seconds but really does have an impact. If you don’t believe in petitions, ask Rush Limbaugh’s list of 142 lost advertisers. Better yet, ask Trayvon Martin’s parents how the power of the people resulted in a Florida Police Chief stepping aside after he failed to ensure the case would be properly investigated.
Thirdly, write a letter and send it to your representative on the San Diego City Council. While this may not make it to their desk before the Monday meeting, formal letters weigh heavily as they consider doing “the right thing”.
Finally, please show your support with your physical presence at Monday’s City Council Meeting, at 10am.
CITY COUNCIL PUBLIC COMMENT HEARING HAS BEEN CHANGED
HEARING WILL NOW BE HELD ON TUESDAY, APRIL 10th @ 10am