Activist and Organizer

-Sylise Marie Hall Participating in SEJ this summer has been an amazing journey. It is now close to the end of our summer together, and I can say that I couldn’t have asked to spend my summer any other way. I came into SEJ as a social justice activist; my focus was on racial injustices and the Black Lives Matter movement. SEJ has transformed me into more than that, into an organizer and an activist of social economic change. Since being in the program I have met so many wonderful people and have been able to learn from their stories. I was placed to work with the Labor Council. Before coming to SEJ I was not too familiar with labor laws or unions. I always knew that there were some illegal things that went on in the workplace, and now I am able to identify those issues and use resources such as the Employee Rights Center to fight for these issues. One of our workshops at SEJ was on organizing a workplace without a union. We learned in depth the skills, steps, and precautions to take in order to organize a union for an unjust workplace. Yesterday we actually had Jono Shaffer come and speak to us about his experience and victories organizing janitor workers in Los Angeles in 1990. It was great to hear and learn from his firsthand story. I never knew the importance of unions up until now, and I believe they are critical in the workplace. Continue reading

My first weeks at SEJ

Being an SEJ fellow has been a unique and rewarding experience. The knowledge I am acquiring through presentations, meetings, and the people I have met are all spearheading my future as an organizer. Before SEJ, I didn’t know what it took to organize people to fight towards a common cause or even to get people to support an issue. I am realizing that although certain measures and issues affect people and their families, it is difficult to get people involved.   Continue reading

Coffee & C.R.E.A.M. podcast- Take Back the Alley

Avital Aboody takes Kyra Greene on a tour of the alley between Imperial &  Commercial and 28th & 29th in Logan Heights. Avital discusses the process of working with artists, residents and youth to Take Back the Alley in Logan. Every May is Take Back the Alley month, where different community groups in San Diego and Tijuana reclaim alleys across the region as public art and community spaces. Avital has great suggestions for what the city can do to facilitate this process and help people reclaim public spaces. Extra audio clips on our soundcloud page.           Before photos of the alley and photos documenting last year's Take Back the Alley events. Photo credit: Greater Logan Heights Community Partnership        

Coffee & C.R.E.A.M. podcast- Youth Opportunity Pass

In the second part of our series Dr. Kyra Greene and Jessica Cordova follow up with Mid-City CAN to learn more about their campaign for the Youth Opportunity Pass Program (YOP). Kyra and Jessica sat down with Maria Cortez, Improving Transportation in City Heights Co-Chair, and Abdulrahim Mohamed, adult leader with Mid-City CAN. Maria and Abdul talk about the process of getting the pilot program off the ground. Maria and Abdul also explain their current campaign asking the Metropolitan Transit Service (MTS) to fund the YOP program with state cap and trade dollars. On December 10, 2014 City Heights youth marched from San Diego High School to the MTS offices in downtown. They held a rally in front of the MTS offices requesting to speak to MTS staff. Continue reading

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Economic Dream and the San Diego Reality

Dr. King painted his vision of economic justice with clear visuals: In San Diego County 300,000 families lack economic security. Many of these families may technically have access to education, food and housing but in very real terms their wages do not afford them the ability to truly attain the American dream. Continue reading