Silencing the Drums – Continued attacks by Balboa Parks and Recreation threaten World Beat Center

by on April 6, 2012 · 9 comments

in Culture, San Diego

World Beat Center in Balboa Park

San Diego’s best known cultural center with a history of celebrating the cultural diversity of the region and the people who work there have become the targets of discrimination.

The World Beat Center needs our support.  This prized venue of music, art, and creativity is at the center of San Diego’s Black, Hispanic, and Native American cultures.  Located on the fringe of Balboa Park, the World Beat Center (WBC) is under increasing attack that has been described as systematic, “institutionalized racism”.

The attacks range from unwarranted parking fines for WBC employees – some $30,000 in fines have been estimated over the past 15 years – and harassment from San Diego’s Vice and Fire Department, despite clear evidence the WBC had already fully addressed the primary Children’s Garden issues which somehow warranted these investigations.  As many readers may know from experience, systematic attacks are clandestine and secretive, but WBC founder and followers know all too well how the ugly hand of racism reaches out to small groups and individuals.

Many believe the attacks were stepped up as a direct response to the WBC’s support for the Occupy San Diego movement, after the WBC hosted their first Occupy event and, more recently, when WBC followers helped organize marches to demand justice for Trayvon Martin, the young man gunned down in Florida by a self-appointed vigilante and neighborhood watch zealot.

World Beat Center – The Master Plan

The WBC is for the people – all people.  The WBC is a place where community is built and experienced by all of San Diegans.

While Balboa Parks and Recreation leaders have long targeted the facility and its programs, the WBC was originally included as part of the park’s Master Plan dating back to 1989, allowing use of land as far south as Presidents Way.  Those same plans provided for a plaza and amphitheatre, and even a bridge connecting WBC to the east side parking areas.

But that is all being threatened and the WBC needs our community to raise their voices in support, and to help obtain a new 25 years lease.  According to Makeda and others who know how the system works, without a valid lease WBC has been denied several attempts to obtain additional funding through grants and other methods.

Monday 2PM, San Diego City Council Meeting  Update: Public comments Tues April 10 at 10AM

Established in 1990 when the San Diego City Council decided to allow the center to move forward, the WBC has a long history as San Diego’s “true” cultural center.

With more than 30,000 facebook followers, WBC was founded by Makeda Cheatom, affectionately referred to as the Godmother of WBC.  Makeda has posted a petition on their website requesting everyone to help support WBC at this time, and she asks that we all attend the City Council Meeting on Monday, April 9th, at 2pm.

As posted on their website, WBC is requesting our most respectful and honest support in several key ways this weekend. Firstly, please go to council docket page and sign up to be heard at the next San Diego City Council Meeting.  Lacking the official docket number, simply enter “Save the World Beat Center, April 9, 2012”, along with any additional information presented.

Secondly, we are asked to sign our names to their petition.  This takes about 30 seconds but really does have an impact. If you don’t believe in petitions, ask Rush Limbaugh’s list of 142 lost advertisers. Better yet, ask Trayvon Martin’s parents how the power of the people resulted in a Florida Police Chief stepping aside after he failed to ensure the case would be properly investigated.

Thirdly, write a letter and send it to your representative on the San Diego City Council.  While this may not make it to their desk before the Monday meeting, formal letters weigh heavily as they consider doing “the right thing”.

Finally, please show your support with your physical presence at Monday’s City Council Meeting, at 10am.




{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar La Playa Heritage April 6, 2012 at 2:04 am


Public Comment is only heard on Tuesdays at 10 am at San Diego City Council Meeting.

Regular City Council meetings on Mondays at 2 pm do not include time for Non-Agenda Public Comment. And there are currently no Agenda items related to the WBC.

The Solution is to change the planned demonstration time from Monday at 2 pm, to Tuesday at 10 am.


avatar Christopher Dotson April 6, 2012 at 11:23 am

Thanks! We posted the information provided by WBC, noting a docket number was ot available. WBC has requested our support on Monday at 2pm. Again, thanks for notification.


avatar Christopher Dotson April 6, 2012 at 11:41 am

UPDATE: According to WBC, they were intentionally misled in prior weeks about the Monday meeting. Jesse at WBC said it perfectly, they (the council) wish to “make us look like fools”, which is part of systematic divide and conquer tactics, and a way to distract supporters, i.e. institutionalized racism.

Don’t let Parks and Rec and City Council silence our drums for even a single day!
WBC needs our diligent support. Thanks to ALL readers for their patience and proactive work and positive feedback.


avatar Christopher Dotson April 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm

EVENT POSTING & UPDATE: Support our World Beat Cultural Center

***April 22***EarthDay***Celebration***
Multi Cultural Earth Day Celebration feat: Little John & Triston Palmer WorldBeat Cultural Center

The World Beat Center is hosting a multi-cultural Earth Day Celebration! Come down and join the festivities on Sunday, April 22, 2012 11:00 AM
Feat: Little John & Triston Palmer, and others!
For more information and online registration: Multi Cultural Earth Day Celebration feat: Little John & Triston Palmer

Vendors can use the following form to register with WBC (Press of password requested )


avatar rick trujillo April 9, 2012 at 10:06 am

Absolute proof that genuine solidarity from OBRag extends beyond the boundaries of Ocean Beach, is again evidenced by this article. Serving and defending each others needs and culture defines a lot\ about who we are. It’s not rhetoric.
The situation at the WBC has been discussed among all members , supporters, and participating groups ie Swing Dance Club, indigenous drummers and dancers, associate artists, among just a few, of the Central Cultural de la Raza, all of whom are ready to act on behalf of our Sister Makeda and WBC, as a whole.
Not to long ago, as we vividly recall, one of the big central museums, at he Park, claiming support for world cultures, was raided by the FBI….many stolen artifacts were recovered…..any arrests, prosecutions, other information about the violated patrimony of the victimized sovereign nations has been buried or lost or just not remembered…and the authorities dare to check on the World Beat Center.
This episode may yet turn out to be San Diego’s (Internationally known Balboa Park & tourists included) art and culture version of Little Big Horn……..just think of us, the WBC, CCdelaR and all our dedicated allies, of so many nationalities as ….the Sioux and other plains Indians.


avatar Christopher Dotson April 11, 2012 at 5:31 pm

everyone out for some music and celebrating! We all need it!!!
Bhakti Fest Presents…Pre Earth Day Celebration WorldBeat Cultural Center
Date: Saturday, April 21, 2012 6:00 PM


avatar christopher dotson April 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm

FESTIVAL OF TIBET – FREE! WorldBeat Cultural Center
Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 10:00 AM


avatar Frank Gormlie April 12, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Christopher – don’t forget to let Annie who does the calendar know about any events.


avatar Christopher Dotson April 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm

UPDATE: WBC in Battle with The Balboa Park Committee
Location: 2144 Pan America Road West
Please attend the meeting: May 3, 2012 at 6pm
Plaza de Panama Committee “Presenting the proposed Plaza de Panama Jacobs/Sanders project”

*****Please plan to be at this first meeting to speak. Let us know if you plan to attend by emailing us at and we will give you more details.*****
The best way to keep most current is to join the facebook page at
After nearly two years of battling this destructive and poorly designed, environmentally, culturally and historically damaging redevelopment and privatization of Balboa Park project will now move forward to a series of public hearings to decide the future of Balboa Park. 

******In the morning of the same day, May 3, there will be a Planning Commission workshop as well; we have no solid confirmation of this yet. Stay tuned please at

PLEASE attend as many meetings as you can with each additional meeting and attendance grows more essential as it moves through this City Council process. The meetings will be:
Balboa Park Committee
Park and Recreation Committee
Historical Resources Board
Planning and Land Use
City Council

We need your help to make sure the public’s voice continues to be heard. A strong showing of public support will only help our voices carry loudly enough to be heard.


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