Editor's note: Dwayne Crenshaw is a candidate for the City of San Diego District 4 City Council seat in the special election being held Tuesday, March 26. The letter below is Crenshaw's response to an editorial in "The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint," a local publication that reports "on news from an African-American perspective and African-American communities of San Diego County, from small church gatherings to major political campaigns." The portion of the editorial that discusses Crenshaw's candidacy is copied below, followed by Crenshaw's response.
Partial text of "The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint's" commentary on candidates for the District 4 special election
(4) Dwayne Crenshaw, who lists himself as a Community Nonprofit Director/Educator looks and sounds like a great candidate, however, Mr. Crenshaw has a tremendous amount of baggage from the issues surrounding his days with the Coalition of Neighborhood Councils (CNC). His openly confessed gay lifestyle is at odds with a great deal of the District's African American residents in spite of his family's history in the community. His positions in leadership and advocacy in the Gay community does not lead itself to the building of the kinds of coalitions between the religious and civic community that the Fourth District has enjoyed in the past and needs to build on during this critical period of restructuring. Mr. Crenshaw is not our choice at any time for this position.
Just an hour ago, a copy of the "Voice & Viewpoint" newspaper's endorsement editorial in the District 4 City Council race was put in front of me. I could hardly believe the message of hate and discrimination I was reading in print in 2013! Here are a couple of the ignorant attacks:
"[Dwayne's] openly gay lifestyle is at odds with a great deal of the District's African American residents ..."
"[Dwayne's] positions of leadership and advocacy in the Gay community does not lend itself to the building of the kinds of coalitions ... that the Fourth District has enjoyed in the past and needs..."
Unfortunately, this is not the first time gay-baiting has been used in this campaign. In February 2013, I was falsely accused of saying at a Catfish Club Forum I would put the LGBT community's needs before that of District 4 youth. The craziest part was the Catfish Club Forum hadn't even taken place yet -- it was three weeks away! A complete and total lie to bring me down with the crowd because I am a gay man. It didn't work! Watch my response HERE and listen to crowd applaud in response.
However, in my race for District 4 City Council in 2004, this same newspaper condemned me for being gay and stated I could not serve both the gay community and the black community. They said I had bad judgement because God's judgment was against gays. Back then, this mean-spirited attack worked. I narrowly lost that election by less than 200 votes.
It worked then because our campaign did not have the resources to respond. It worked because I wasn't personally ready yet then to stand up and fight back.
But have no doubt, I am ready for this fight! I have the courage, strength and pride this time to see this campaign through to victory. I look forward to serving the community I grew up in and love as a member of the city council. I am committed to advancing an agenda of good jobs, quality schools and safe street for residents of District 4 and all San Diegans.
Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for standing with me. Together, with your help right now, we will advance equality and respect for all!