30 Years Told in 30 Stories: Anastasia Brewster

In 2009 TCE began the Building Healthy Communities initiative creating more opportunities for organizations to build relationships with residents as well as neighboring organizations. Looking back on this, what reflections do you have on the power of collaboration? 

I think we do collaboration well in City Heights, and I think that’s one of the things that makes our community stand out. In our community, which is so diversified, people have widely varying backgrounds to draw on and learn from.  

Over the course of the Building Healthy Communities starting and launching is also the strengthening of so many ethnically-led small nonprofits, and their ability to really spark and make change. Larger nonprofits like the City Heights CDC, have benefited so much by being able to work alongside some of the smaller nonprofits, which today, aren’t so small anymore! Collaboration is key and when it happens, that is when a job is done well and when real success is achieved. 

What are your highest hopes and dreams for City Heights and for our region?  

I think City Heights has done such a great job coming together to organize and figure out the kind of community we want to live in; one that supports a healthy lifestyle and where families thrive. As a community, we’ve also been able to advance a lot of new projects and policies. 

Despite all the great we’ve been able to accomplish as a community; we are in the middle of a major housing crisis. Our housing crisis is real, and it is felt on every level in this community. One of my biggest hopes is that we will be able to advance some critical housing policy changes. Change is a natural part of living in an urban environment, but to do it in a just way where people can stay and reap the benefits of all their hard work is a critical feature of what a healthy successful community feels like.  

For the region, I envision a place where all people have an opportunity to get the education they need, and to and from the places they need to go, in a safe way. That all San Diego communities would experience some of what we get to experience in City Heights; where human dignity of each individual member of our community is valued and uplifted. 

Now that would be an amazing San Diego to live in.