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San Diego Mayor Forms Black Advisory Group

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria delivering his inaugural State of the City address on Jan. 14, 2021.
City of San Diego
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria delivering his inaugural State of the City address on Jan. 14, 2021.

Mayor Todd Gloria announced Wednesday the formation of a nine-member group of advisers that will help his administration tackle unique challenges facing Black communities.

"I'm pleased that we've been able to assemble such an accomplished group of individuals who will strengthen our efforts to create a more inclusive San Diego," Gloria said. "I recognize the disparities our Black communities face related to education, access to health care, mental health, housing, transportation, food insecurity, employment and entrepreneurship and I firmly believe their input will get us on the right track of equity."

The members of Gloria's Black Advisory Group are:


— Armand King, chief operating officer of Paving Great Futures, a nonprofit organization that provides young adults, substance abusers and formerly incarcerated persons with entrepreneurial training, workforce readiness training, and job placement and counseling services;

— Walter Lam, president of the Alliance for African Assistance, a refugee aid nonprofit;

— April Laster, founder and CEO of Open Heart Leaders, billed as San Diego's only Black, female-led mental health nonprofit organization offering wraparound services consisting of life coaching, counseling, resources and mediation;

— Francine Maxwell, NAACP San Diego Branch president;

— Glenn McKinney, assistant pastor of St. Stephens Church of God in Christ;


— Robbie Robinson, who serves on the Broadway Heights Community Council;

— Ramla Sahid, executive director of the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans and a City Heights community advocate;

— Nate Stewart, pastor of Greater Life Church; and

— Harvey L. Vaughn III, pastor of Bethel Memorial A.M.E.

The advisory group will meet quarterly and hold its first meeting on Feb. 19.