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San Diego's first Chief Equity Officer discusses stepping into new role

kim desmond san diego.jpg
Posted at 11:03 AM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 14:03:07-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Last week, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria announced the hire of the city's first-ever Chief Race and Equity Officer.

Kim Desmond will be the first person to step into the position, after serving as the Chief Equity Officer for the city and county of Denver. The role is designed to help San Diego officials make decisions and policies that better serve all its citizens.

"If you wanna know what I do, I address disparities," Desmond said. "How do you build and create equitable outcomes where you don't see disparities in any city service throughout the city."

The Office of Race and Equity was proposed by Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe in June 2020, following the murder of George Floyd and national calls for racial justice.

The mayor's office says Desmond will play a leading role in driving a citywide strategy to advance and implement diversity, equity, and inclusion practices into the city's culture and its programs, services and policies.

"Make sure you're using the city taxpayer budget responsibly and you're meeting the need of everyone in the city to ensure you're not missing anyone," Desmond described.

She said in addition to helping budget through a more equitable lens, she was also behind a significant shift in Denver policy.

"For the last year, we've been working on changing the municipal code to remove the word illegal alien that is not language that's inclusive," said Desmond.

She said she's eager to get to know San Diego and its people and start helping to implement real change.

"Enough is enough. Let's not leave anyone behind and let's make sure everyone is able to thrive and there's no inequity in education, employment all those things," Desmond said.

Desmond will begin her new role in San Diego on Aug. 3.