Transcript of 2019 Awardee John Finkelman Video

2019 Awardee John Finkelman Video


In 2018, according to the U.N., there was the most people fleeing conflict since World War II. The Equal Voice Initiative serves to help marginalized communities in San Diego, such as refugees, displaced people, asylum seekers, and people below the poverty line.

Refugees are here, not necessarily because they wanted to come here, but because they’re forced to come here. They’re the most vulnerable people, and we really need to help them and do everything that we can, politics aside, because they’re humans. Because we are humans. In addition to donating clothing, basic necessities, and school supplies, my organization teaches people how to navigate a new country and a new city.

They may not know, for example, where to put their money or how do you use the public transit system or even their legal rights, something that we as Americans take for granted. But for someone who’s new to this country, might not understand that you’re able to practice your religion freely here.

Another thing we do is teach people basic English skills so that they can get a job and get around and talk with other people. Knowing that I’ve helped thousands of people in San Diego, it’s a great feeling, but I know that there are many more people that we need to help. The recognition from Diller validates my work in my organization, and it really helps us go forward and affect more people.