By Christian Ramirez
Three generations of my family call the 8th District of the City of San Diego home. We love San Diego but could never live far from Tijuana; in fact, our clan has an unspoken rule that to live north of I-8 is akin to falling off the face of Earth. Our roots are intertwined with the border; we are proud fronterizos, borderlanders.
America’s Finest City has not always embraced our border identity; in fact many of us who live in the southern part of San Diego have always had the uneasy feeling that City Hall had its back turned towards us. That is until we elected David Alvarez as our councilmember. As soon as he took office David got to work, he understood that the border region is an economic engine and celebrated our unique cultural heritage.
When we learned that David was running for mayor, my family knew that we could finally have the opportunity to fully be engaged in the civic life of our city. A mayor that understands us, can you imagine!
In a recent debate, one of the candidates in the mayoral race said that he wanted “to keep the seat warm for David,” implying that Latinos should wait our turn. That’s the kind of backwards thinking that has set America’s Finest City back for so many years.
David Alvarez is the only choice for San Diego to move forward, to finally turn the page in our city’s history and leave in the past the decades of narrow-mindedness that has been the hallmark of City Hall for far too long.
The City of San Diego is at a crossroads, we have the possibility of electing a mayor that will serve all of its neighborhoods. A mayor that values the enormous contributions of working families, that celebrates our border identity and that acknowledges that America’s Finest City has a historical debt with communities of color.
The time for a 21st Century San Diego has come, where we finally have a government that celebrates the wealth of our diversity and a leader that understands that all voices must have the opportunity to be heard. David brings something else to the table, a receptive ear and the values of hard work, social justice and respect. Values so urgently needed in the mayor’s office, so that we can live up to our motto of America’s Finest City.
Oh and by the way, San Diego has not had a Latino mayor since 1847. We are not waiting any longer.
Christian Ramírez was born in Tijuana and lives in San Diego. He is a nationally recognized advocate for immigrant rights and is a regular guest in Spanish and English language media to cover issues relating to Latino and border issues. He’s happily married and lives with his wife in Logan Heights