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San Diego mayor announces hire of city’s first chief race and equity officer

A portrait of Kim Desmond
Kim Desmond, the city of San Diego’s first chief race and equity officer.
(City of San Diego)

Mayor Todd Gloria has announced that San Diego has hired its first chief race and equity officer.

Kim Desmond, who is chief equity officer for the city and county of Denver, will lead the city’s recently created Office of Race and Equity. She will start Aug. 3, according to a statement from the mayor’s office.

Gloria said his administration is working to make equity a priority. He said Desmond will help ensure that decisions the city makes are done with the goal of ending disparities in San Diego city government and working toward greater diversity and inclusion in the city’s programs, services and policies.

“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.”

Desmond is expected to work to provide education and technical support to city staff, with the goal of reducing and eliminating systemic racism. The position was established in June 2020 after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and an outcry for racial justice across the country.

Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe, who proposed creating the position, said in a statement that the city needs a leader to work across city departments to “root out discriminatory policies.” She said Desmond was a “clear choice” during the interview process.

“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,” Montgomery Steppe said. “My office looks forward to partnering in the near future.”

In a statement released by the city, Desmond said she is honored to be the first person appointed to the position. “A focus on race and equity is an investment for all of us,” she said.


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