Building Power Block by Block in City Heights


To vote is to have a say in our community’s safety, health, and quality of life. At Mid-City CAN we are expanding our voter engagement efforts to build power in City Heights. Our goal is to see better and quicker results for our community. We are part of a movement to ensure fairness across all places by making sure that young people, immigrants, and low-income families also have a say.

Voting is about being able to make decisions on the issues that affect our everyday lives. From education and transportation to public spaces and safety, more affluent neighborhoods, which vote at a higher rate, have determined how and where resources and opportunities are allocated.

In the 2014 general election, for example, 62 percent of registered voters in Kensington cast ballots. One of its precincts had the third highest turnout in all of San Diego, at 70 percent. In contrast, the Teralta neighborhood in City Heights had 27 percent voter turnout, and its precincts were among the city’s lowest. Although both communities are in District 9, Kensington has more decision-making power in the district.

Our public structures—laws, highways, schools, community services, health agencies—often have sturdier foundations and are better funded in affluent neighborhoods. We want to ensure that resources, services, and opportunities are well-funded and allocated fairly regardless of where people live by mobilizing people to vote and have a say.

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What better way to create positive change than to turn out the youth vote, the voice of our future leaders?

One of the goals of Mid-City CAN is to increase the participation of young people at the polls. In 2017 we will register 350 new youth voters, ages 18-24 and will pre-register 500 youth, ages 16-17. Our pre-registration starts during National Voter Registration Day on September 26th by engaging youth at different high schools across City Heights.

Not only are youth the future leaders in our community but they also have the power to activate their parents to vote.

Mid-City CAN is currently hiring a team of 10 Neighborhood Captains to support our Integrated Voter Engagement work, launching on October 16th. The focus of this effort is to build relationships and foster trust with our neighbors so that they are better informed and motivated to vote come election season. City Heights residents, immigrants, refugees, and young adults who are bilingual are encouraged to apply. Click here to apply.

Unlike traditional voter engagement campaigns that target high propensity voters weeks before an election, Mid-City CAN intends to connect with all registered voters in 16 sub neighborhoods years in advance of the next presidential election and a year in advance of mid-term elections.

In City Heights, where families come from different countries and many experience fear and distrust because of economic instability or immigration status, it is crucial to foster trust and build relationships to mobilize people to vote. By learning about the issues that our community cares about, we intend to create a culture of educated voters who are aware of the campaigns and ballot measures that most impact their daily lives.

By building trust and learning about the issues that our community cares about, our voter engagement work will build power block by block leading to our goal of 5000 registered voters in City Heights by 2020 who will have a voice in making our community the safe, productive, and healthy community we all deserve.

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