Coffee & C.R.E.A.M. podcast- City Heights Skate Park

In our first podcast our budget and infrastructure specialist, Kyra Greene, sits down with Angeli Hernandez, a member of the Mid-City Youth Council, to chat about the 3-year process where youth mobilized and worked with the city and community residents to build a Skate Park in City Heights. Angeli talks about the recent obstacles they've faced due to a small group of residents who've threatened to sue the city to prevent the construction of the park.  

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Angeli and Mid-City Youth Council worked with the Tony Hawk Foundation and Human Impact Partners to study the possible health effects of the Skate Park.

"The HIA predicts a skatepark would provide thousands of youth with more opportunity for exercise, social connection, and development, which lead to better health and well-being. The skatepark would also mean increased safety from crime in and around the park and fewer injuries for skateboarders who use it." Read the Executive Summary and Full Report.

You can also download the report here: http://www.humanimpact.org/news/just-released-the-health-effects-of-a-new-skatepark-in-san-diego-ca/

This particular project speaks to us for a few reasons. One of the key challenges in the urban core neighborhoods of San Diego is severe lack of green spaces, which has implications for individual and community health. In addition, finding funding outside the city coffers is a challenge especially in older neighborhoods with large number of low-income residents. Finally, in a time where politics are too often characterized by cynicism and apathy, this is a project where young San Diegans have poured over 3 years of energy into advocating for something that will make their community better for them and for the youth to come.

You can support Angeli and the Mid-City Youth Council in their quest to get a skate park in City Heights by attending the City Heights Recreational Council meeting at 6:30pm Tuesday, November 18, at the City Heights Rec Center.

You can also email and/or call your council representative to let them know that you want to support this project and want to see a skate park for the youth of this city.

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Living and working in poverty: Grim reality in "America’s Finest City"

The phrase “living in poverty” is one of those shorthand terms that rolls easily off the tongues of news anchors and politicians before they turn to the next topic. We all tend to glaze over the full meaning of the phrase, the grinding day-to-day misery of hunger, worry, discomfort, exhaustion and despair.

In the City of San Diego, the proportion and number of people living in poverty edged up in 2013. It should have gone down. Instead, 7,000 more people in the city live in poverty now, in addition to the 202,000 who remain in that dire situation from the previous year.

Statistically, it was a small increase, nothing drastic. When CPI reported it last month in an analysis of new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the main response from local media and others was a yawn.

But consider what that statistic means. We are supposedly four years into a recovery from the national recession. Local industry has indeed recovered; the San Diego region’s economic output has rebounded above pre-recession levels. People are working hard and companies are making money. But wages, here as elsewhere, have not kept up. The recovery in profits is not being shared with the people doing much of the work.

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San Diego Fast-Food Workers Arrested in Fight for $15 and Union Rights

Local strikers among thousands walking off their jobs in 150 cities as movement intensifies

Nine San Diego fast-food workers and two community supporters were arrested Thursday morning as part of a national strike calling for wages of $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation.

Dozens of striking workers from 19 restaurants gathered in City Heights, along with about 300 supporters, for a peaceful demonstration in front of a McDonald’s, a Burger King, and a Jack in the Box. They rallied at the intersection over Interstate 15, briefly blocking traffic. The workers were arrested for civil disobedience after they sat in the middle of the intersection, linking arms and chanting “We believe that we will win.”

Before he was arrested, McDonald’s worker Jay Ames said he was willing to make that sacrifice for a better future for himself and his coworkers. “I’m tired of making $9 an hour. I can’t live off it. None of us can.  I’m tired of being afraid I might be homeless because I can’t afford the rent here.”

Marie Kaio, a Burger King employee for 35 years, also was arrested. She said by the end of each month she has to survive on bologna sandwiches and food from churches and her family. “I love my job and I always welcome people with a smile, but $9 an hour isn’t enough,” Kaio said at a 6 a.m. rally. “I’m going out on strike because I deserve $15 and a union.”

All 11 arrested were released within a few hours. Here is a short CPI video showing the action and arrests:

The action was part of a national day of strikes and civil disobedience in 150 cities from coast to coast. Two years after the fast-food “Fight for $15” movement began in New York City, President Obama on Monday praised “fast-food workers organizing to lift wages so they can provide for their families with pride and dignity.”

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Don't Sign It

DontSignIt.jpgOn August 18, a super-majority of the San Diego City Council overrode a mayoral veto restoring the new Earned Sick Leave-Minimum Wage Ordinance. Now, paid petitioners are trying to repeal the measure. Their deceptive tactics have been documented.

The passing of the ordinance makes San Diego the largest city in the country to give its workers a raise and require employers to allow workers to earn up to five sick days a year. The measure is set to take effect January 1, 2015, unless the paid petitioners win. Area businesses funded by out-of-town corporate interests are trying to overturn this widely supported Ordinance by sending OUT-OF-TOWN paid signature-gathers into the streets with a petition to overturn it.

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SEJ Week 7

luis_and_jesus.JPGIt is hard writing my feelings on this blog. It is hard to look back and write. But in order to write history, I have to look back. Every detail, every action, every smile and every tear counts in history. I am here to write history. There is a history of a family of nine young female and male students that started their journey on June the 30th of 2014 in San Diego, California, a city with a many struggles, muchas luchas, and a city with an open wound that has not yet recovered. There is a journey that needs to be told, it needs to be written, it needs to be present in our hearts, I am here to write a piece of this journey.

Week Seven.  A week has passed. I didn’t know how much I have learned until I realized that I was not sitting in CPI’s conference room with my SEJ Family. I am pretty sure that my sisters and brothers feel the same way. We walked together for six weeks, we connected our hearts during that time, we were getting prepared to reach the point where we were going to start walking by ourselves. In order for us to take our knowledge and our leadership skills, we need to separate, not forever, but until our mission gets accomplished. During week seven, everything seemed to calm down, it was the end of the SEJ program, but it was the beginning of greater changes in our community; we were ready to walk by ourselves spreading the knowledge we got at SEJ and to stand in solidarity with different luchas.

Jesus and I, the two undocumented folks of the SEJ program became brothers. We were involved in the Chicana/o community, but we were with different organizations. After SEJ we knew that our destiny was to work together. He invited me to join the San Diego Immigration Youth Collective (SDIYC), I joined them. Our first activity together was to help organize the trial for humanity from MAAC project to the US/Mexican border. Since we both write poetry connecting our tongue, our heart, our lines and our word to the border, we decide to write a piece together. We named the poem “El Camino,” the Road.  Through the vivid lines of our words, we connected the camino of the women who took the initiative to walk from San Francisco the US/ Mexican Border, to our lucha and to our consciousness with the struggle of our sisters and brothers in Palestine. We create a Camino from this corner of the US/Mexican Border to the border of Gaza because we didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us. This brotherhood of Jesus and I will last forever just like the light of grandpa sun and grandma moon.

I miss the rest of my family, though. In the left side of my heart there are 7 other individuals who keep my revolutionary system alive with the hope of a better world. I know they all are doing something for our communities. Bernadette is getting ready to begin another successful semester in Sonoma State, she is a fighter. She is fighting for education; she will make great changes in the education of our communities. Val and Eunice did an amazing job during this six week program. They both are amazing, super passionate in the work they do. I really liked they way they talked about issues with gender and human trafficking. I got another perspective on these issues because of them. They will do an amazing job at UCSD. Biviana and Jenny, man, I have no letters to create a line writing my feelings towards both of them. All I want to say is that I am impressed with the work they do. Biviana, chale, she grew a lot! She has this heart-breaking story that makes her who she is today. She decided to walk against the typical stereotype of this society and prove every single person that didn’t believe in her wrong! I know one day we will meet up to share our food. Jenny, she has this amazing view of machismo! There are many things that connect all cultures of the world, but there is one specifically that I saw during the SEJ internship; machismo. And Jenny brought it up. She, as well as the rest of my sisters and brothers, has an amazing story. Our culturas have a connection; we all have something in common. Jenny is amazing. She will also do an amazing job at SDSU along with Jesus and Biviana. I am looking forward to meeting with them on their campus. Joshua and Laura, man, I am speechless! Where do I start now? Bueno, Laura has this essential knowledge of unions, I remember when one of the panelists of Alliance San Diego said, “You always have to know your shit”, Laura knows her shit. Her knowledge and experience will make her go far with Unions. Joshua, my brother! He was always quiet, I will miss sitting at the same table with him. He would say things whenever he knew it was time to say them. Always analyzing, always humble, brother, if you read this I just want you to know that I admire you.

Now its time to walk in corporate America, its time for another change in our communities, it is time to organize the movimiento. Jesus and I will be writing poetry in the shadows of the border, look for us, our mission is to write poetry for the liberation of our pueblos.

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