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Imperial County Supervisors Approves Funding for Needs Assessment


The Imperial County Board of Supervisors approved the expenditure of $50,000 for a needs assessment study addressing the needs of African Americans and other vulnerable communities locally.

The Board of Supervisors discussed an item that was presented last month by a group that wants to do a study and improve the quality of life of minorities and disadvantaged communities. This project will have support from university professors and local stakeholders that have pledged their support for this project that will begin their work immediately.

The purpose of the Imperial Valley Social Justice Committee Needs Assessment is to provide data, identify current problems and recommend solutions for the development of an action plan with the County Board of Supervisors to address disparities in social-economic, geographic, political, and physical environmental conditions in order to create a fair and just society in Imperial County, said Marlene Thomas, representative of the Imperial Valley Social Justice Committee. The group asked for $50,000 from the county to help with this study.

“The majority of marginalized that includes women, blacks, and Mexican-Americans, and their needs are not being addressed. The opportunity is no longer there that most of us fought for,” Thomas said at the October 20 meeting. Thomas gave a history of the African-American community in the Imperial Valley and how many of those congregations have disappeared.

This time around the project had more support from university professors like Mark Wheeler, Director of the San Diego State University Institute of Ethics and Public Affairs. Wheeler said that he will be participating in ongoing leadership meetings that will develop and refine project methodologies and project goals. Wheeler said he pledges to give his professional expertise and work throughout the period of the study, helping to recruit and helping to fund the need cohorts of faculty and student researchers at SDSU and at allied research institutions, helping to analyze and present data, and helping to pursue interventions on the basis of the findings.

Additionally, Lawson Hardrick III, President of Associated Students at San Diego State Imperial Valley, vowed to assist the proposal.

“I strongly believe this needs assessment will be extremely beneficial to the students on my campus, their families, and other residents of Imperial County by providing numerous positive outcomes,” Hardrick said.

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