Youth Council Strike a Pose for the Camera

Youth

With the arrival of Fall, Youth Council members met up for a fun photoshoot outdoors while getting to know new Youth Council members! Everyone had a great time striking a pose for the camera.

“When I see these photos I see confidence, strength, kindness, and inner and outer beauty,” said Ron Sanchez, Media Specialist for Mid-City CAN. “I hope they feel empowered and energized when they see their photos and remember that they can accomplish anything in life.”

   

Youth Council are a group of young people, ages 13-18, who want to create change in our local Black, Indigenous and Communities of Color. They meet every Friday and start each session enjoying food and getting to know each other. Youth Council is always open to meeting new members. Learn more about this fun group by clicking here to visit their webpage.     

Check out the fabulous pics from the photoshoot.

📷: Ron Sanchez, Mid-City CAN 


Mid-City CAN Wins Innovation Award for YOP

Award

SAN DIEGO (September 15) – Mid-City CAN receives Innovation Award at Circulate San Diego’s 2022 Momentum Awards ceremony! Held this year at the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park, Circulate's Momentum Awards recognize local people and projects that provide excellent mobility choices for San Diegan residents and promote a shared goal of fostering vibrant, healthy neighborhoods.

The Youth Opportunity Pass (YOP) campaign wins the Innovation Award! This campaign began over a decade ago by mothers and grandmothers in City Heights who identified transit as a major barrier to youth’s access of education, job opportunities, and extra-curriculars as well as a major financial undertaking for transit-reliant families.

“This is exciting and truly an honor to win the Innovation Award. Thank you, Circulate San Diego,” said Ariana Federico, Mid-City CAN’s lead organizer for the Improving Transportation in City Heights (ITCH) team. “This award belongs to all of the organizers, students, parents, volunteers, and supporters who have worked so hard for over a decade to make sure that the Youth Opportunity Pass program became a reality. Our work regarding YOP is ongoing and we want to make it a permanent program.”

Mid-City CAN Policy Advocate Belen Hernandez Garcia and ITCH team member Maria Cortez were delighted to accept the award from Colin Parent, Circulate San Diego's Executive Director and General Counsel. Along with the award was a Certificate of Recognition from Chair Nathan Fletcher, Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, and Councilmember Raul A. Campillo. Mayor Todd Gloria was in attendance and presented one of the awards. Governor Gavin Newsom received an award and recorded a message congratulating all of the winners. View the list of winners here.

Award  Award

The YOP pilot program enables youth 18 and under to ride free with a PRONTO pass from May 2022 to June 30, 2023. Youth riders receive unlimited rides on the bus, Trolley, COASTER and SPRINTER all over San Diego County.

Only a few months in, SANDAG reported a significant increase due to the YOP pilot program. Compared to April 2022, the following three months had cumulative averages of:

• 25 percent increase in overall youth ridership countywide
• 20 percent increase in average weekday ridership countywide
• 68 percent increase in average Saturday ridership countywide
• 90 percent increase in average Sunday ridership countywide
• 24 percent increase in total MTS youth ridership
• 36 percent increase in total NCTD youth ridership

"With the surfacing of the Youth Opportunity Pass I never had to worry about the expiration of my bus pass or making sure I always had change with me to be able to go home. Without money being in the way, I found myself taking more opportunities to make a change within my community as I had a potent form of transportation. For this reason, the Youth Opportunity Pass Program should remain in place,” said Karina Sandoval, a senior at Hoover High School and a Mid-City CAN Youth Council member, during a Back to School press conference last August that promoted the YOP program.

Mid-City CAN's Improving Transportation in City Heights is a momentum team of community members interested in increasing youth opportunity, combating climate change, and increasing investment in public transportation, and has advocated for the YOP program since 2011. Last June, Mid-City CAN was the recipient of the 2022 Climate Justice Award during Climate Action Campaign’s BLOOM ceremony. Climate Action Campaign honored Mid-City CAN for its commitment to improving the community and ensuring every young person has access to free public transit through Youth Opportunity Passes.

Award  Award

The team continues its work to make YOP permanent.

Mid-City CAN, along with a coalition of transit agencies, school districts, environmentalists, and others, have been supporting Assembly Bill 1919 - Youth Transit Pass Pilot Program: free youth transit passes. If passed, AB 1919 would award grants to transit agencies for the costs of creating, designing, developing, advertising, distributing, and implementing free youth transit passes. In recent weeks the bill has passed through all committees with bipartisan support and only 1 no vote. The bill fell short as it was vetoed on September 13 by Governor Newsom because he said the bill requires the creation of a new grant program which is not in the budget. Mid-City CAN will continue to work with the coalition and support AB 1919.

📷: Ron Sanchez, Mid-City CAN 

 


Mid-City CAN Joins Coalition, Supports LaCava on Proposed Reforms to CPGs

MCC joins Coalition

***UPDATE***

Wonderful news to share regarding the reforms to Community Planning Groups:

San Diego City Council voted 6-1 on Tuesday to adopt reforms to Community Planning Groups put forward by Councilmember Joe LaCava. The reforms will encourage diversity within the groups, prohibit some antidemocratic practices, and bring them into compliance with the City Charter.

The reforms are a major breakthrough after of years of advocacy led by Circulate San Diego. Mid-City CAN joined Circulate and nine other San Diego organizations in submitting a letter of support for LaCava's proposed reforms on September 12.

“The reforms adopted today will help community planning in the City of San Diego be fairer and more inclusive,” said Colin Parent, executive director and general counsel of Circulate San Diego.

Thank you Circulate San Diego and City Council!

----

Mid-City CAN joined Circulate San Diego and nine other San Diego organizations in submitting a letter of support for Councilmember Joe LaCava's proposed reforms to Community Planning Groups (CPG). The proposal would bring CPG operations into compliance with the City Charter, and would increase diversity and participation in CPGs.

Background:
Over the past several years, calls for the City to consider reforms to Community Planning Groups have come from many sources, including the San Diego County Grand Jury, the City Auditor, the Land Use and Housing Committee of the San Diego City Council, and Circulate San Diego.

The Grand Jury Report found that membership of some CPGs is not sufficiently diverse to represent their communities. Some CPGs currently create inappropriate restrictions for democratic participation, limiting community members’ ability to vote and participate in elections. 

The current structure of CPGs is illegal. The City Attorney has opined that the current format of CPGs is inconsistent with the City Charter, and must be changed. The City Attorney opinion validated issues first raised by Circulate in an April 2019 memo which explained that the City Charter requires advisory boards like CPGs to be appointed by the Mayor.

Read the full letter to Mayor Todd Gloria and the City Council by clicking here.


CANCELED: Back to School Resource Market

****UPDATE****

Mid-City CAN regretfully has to cancel our Back to School Resource Market event on Saturday, September 17. It is our hope to host an event of this impact for our community in the future. Thank you for your enthusiasm and willingness to be a part of this event.

Mid-City CAN appreciates the relationship with our partners and look forward to collaborating in the future.
 

Canceled



YOP Works and Needs to Be a Permanent Program

Karina at YOP conference

Mid-City CAN Youth Council member Karina Sandoval, a 16-year-old incoming senior at Hoover High School and City Heights resident, spoke at a Back to School press conference that promoted the Youth Opportunity Pass (YOP). The event was held on August 26 at Hoover High School and was attended by the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, San Diego Unified School District, SANDAG, Chair Nathan Fletcher, and other YOP supporters.  

Chair Fletcher began the press conference by thanking the advocates of the YOP pass: “This is an incredible asset. I really want to thank everyone who’s here who advocated for so long to make Youth Opportunity Passes happen. I want to thank in particular Mid-City CAN. I want to thank City Heights CDC, and I want to thank all the parents and the incredible coalition of folks who have been fighting for this for so long.” 

Fletcher introduced Karina who talked about the importance of YOP. Below is a transcript of her speech:

"My name is Karina Sandoval, and I am a 16-year-old incoming senior at Hoover High School, a City Heights resident, and a Mid City CAN youth council member. Living in City Heights my entire life, I have seen numerous ways my neighbors struggle to provide essentials for their families, from the rent to the food on the table. My single mother being one of them, I was left to utilize public transportation on my own from my very first day of high school as a 13-year-old while she worked early shifts.

Karina

"For the past four years, I have used the bus to go to school every morning, attend dentist appointments, arrive at every one of my internships, and make it to daily volleyball games and practices. Through the rush of making it to every destination, I feared the expiration of my bus pass every time I stepped foot onto the bus. There was even once when this fear became true on a school morning. My pass expired that day, and I was short of change. I stepped off feeling defeated as I had now missed my history exam. Other days, I feared being stranded at night as my internship tutoring children ended late.

"With the surfacing of the Youth opportunity pass I never had to worry about the expiration of my bus pass or making sure I always had change with me to be able to go home. Without money being in the way, I found myself taking more opportunities to make a change within my community as I had a potent form of transportation. For this reason, the Youth Opportunity Pass Program should remain in place. This program ensures youth from all backgrounds are connected to their schools, internships, medical care, and early career opportunities. In addition, the YOP is a proven program. Similar programs exist in Alameda County, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Santa Ana. This is our chance to provide our underserved youth in San Diego with the materials to become successful academically and in their livelihoods."

Thank you Karina for an amazing speech on the importance of this program and why it needs to be permanent!

Keep spreading the word about the YOP program. Click here to get a free PRONTO youth card today!

📷: Ron Sanchez, Mid-City CAN 


Precious Inyang Internship Video

We love our interns! Mid-City CAN is fortunate to have so many talented interns working with us for many years. One of our recent interns, Precious Inyang, was a Summer 2022 intern through Health Career Connection. "I highly recommend that any higher education student who is eligible and interested in pursuing a health career apply for this internship and see it through if selected," advised Precious.

While with Mid-City CAN Precious worked with our Improving Transportation in City Heights (ITCH) team doing outreach for the Youth Opportunity Pass program. She also helped developed an upcoming educational campaign. For her major project, Precious used her global health and premedical background to create a research project on the intersection of public transportation and public health.

Thank you Precious for the amazing work that you did while at Mid-City CAN! We wish you all the best at UCSD as you pursue your BA in Global Health and keep in touch!

Get to know Precious by watching the video below that she created highlighting her internship at Mid-City CAN and working with the ITCH team.

 


Youth Council 2022 Artivism Program Wraps Up

Artivism Field Trip

It's a wrap! Our Youth Council 2022 Artivism program has concluded and it was a thrill to meet so many incredibly talented students! Thank you for all of your hard work. Many thanks to our amazing teaching artist Lorain Khalil Rihan who had a tremendous impact on the students.

"These past weeks have been amazing and life-changing," said Artivism student Jasmine. "I would like to give a special shout out to Lorain the teaching artist for everything she has done and taught us. She was immensely an inspiration to me personally. I learned so much about youth organizing and have been inspired and moved to join Youth Council and become more involved with Mid-City CAN."

All youth participants will display their art projects at the Copley-Price YMCA in City Heights in August. Stay tuned, we will post more information about their exhibit at the Copley-Price YMCA on our social media channels.

Thank you to the sponsors of our Artivism program: Level Up SD, San Diego Unified School District, San Diego Foundation, and Price Philanthropies.

Artivism

View more photos from our Artivism program by visiting our Flickr page.

📷: Ron Sanchez, Mid-City CAN


Mid-City CAN Holds First Pride Event

Pride event

On Saturday June 25th the Civic Engagement team hosted their first Queer, Trans, Intersex, People of the Global Majority (QTIPGM) Health, Pride and Resiliency event at Henwood Memorial Park in City Heights. The goal of the event is to improve the health disparities that the QTIPGM community encounter, as well as provide resources from Community Based Organizations to mitigate those disparities. Thank you to all our partners and guests who attended to make the event a success! 

Mid-City CAN was excited to partner with more than 10 community organizations including Planned Parenthood, Rainbow Spaces, SD Black LGBTQ+ Coalition, and many more. The event featured speakers, a yoga session led by JustBriFree Yoga & Wellness, a tie-dye station courtesy of Sew Loka, a flag making station, a performance by Amber St. James, and food & drinks. Council President Sean Elo-Rivera stopped by and congratulated Mid-City CAN for hosting a wonderful community event!

Pride Event

View photos and a video of the event on our Flickr page (no log in required).

📷: Ron Sanchez, Mid-City CAN


Artivism 2022 Begins on June 21 - Sign Up Now!

Artivism

We're excited about Youth Council's Second Annual Artivism Program that begins next Tuesday on June 21!

This year's Artivism will be taught by an amazing visual artist, Lorain Khalil Rihan. See her amazing work and learn more about Lorain by visiting her website.

If you're on the fence about signing up, there are so many reasons why you should join! Here are a few fun reasons:

- Create and learn about art

- An opportunity to exhibit completed artwork projects in a community setting

- 2-4 field trips to learn about art

- Balboa Park annual pass (which means you'll have access to museums for a year!)

- Meet new friends

- Certificate of completion

- Community service hours

- Recommendation letters

- Lasting memories

Artivism is FREE and no art experience is needed.

Artivism

The summer program will have two sessions:

  • Session 1: June 21 - July 8 (3 weeks)
  • Session 2: July 11 - July 29 (3 weeks)

DAY: Tuesday - Friday

TIME: 2 pm to 5 pm

LOCATION: Hoover High School, 4474 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115

Students can join the 1st session, 2nd session, or both sessions!

Click here to sign up:

https://www.inplay.org/providers/mid-city-can/youth-artivism-summer-program

This program is geared for high school youth ages 13-18 and is also open to students who will be enrolled in San Diego Unified School District in the Fall 2022. 

Ensuring access to Artivism for Mid-City CAN means that students who live or go to school outside of San Diego school district are able to benefit from this program as well. Due to a generous donation, Mid-City CAN will be accepting students who live outside of San Diego Unified district boundary lines.

Artivism


YOP Community Celebration a Success!

Mid-City CAN had a wonderful time hosting the community on Tuesday, April 26 to celebrate the launch of the Youth Opportunity Pass program! The YOP Community Celebration at the City Heights Performing Annex featured speakers, entertainment, food, and much more. Thank you to all who attended.

Special shoutout to the Hoover High School Drumline team for an amazing performance! 

Youth ages 18 and under starting on May 1 can now ride for free on the bus, trolley, and other public transit operated by San Diego MTS and the North County Transit District.

If you weren’t able to attend the celebration and have questions about the YOP program including how to register, visit Mid-City CAN’s Improving Transportation in City Heights page at:

https://www.midcitycan.org/improving_transportation



View more photos and a video on our Flickr page by clicking here.

📷: Ron Sanchez, Mid-City CAN


Meet Our Team: Griselda Ramirez, Director of Civic Engagement

Tell us about the work you do with MCC and what calls you to it?
As the Director of Civic Engagement, my work is to make sure to build the strategy around our field activities and make sure that we are aligning with our long term goals, that our team has the necessary training and resources so that we can continue to move our work forward. I recently celebrated my 5th MCC work anniversary!

The sustainability of the work we do relies on us also taking care of ourselves as part of it. How do you like to take care of yourself?
Taking care of oneself is super important! I take care of myself by completely disconnecting and making sure I take a mental break from everything. Spending time with my family, friends, and going out for walks.

What is one of your favorite memories at MCC?
I have so many favorite memories but my best memory was of the 2016 election when we had an all-volunteer program and together we registered people to vote and encouraged folks to vote, it was a special year because the community came together to make sure their friends and neighbors had a voice for this election and this was the beginning of a civically involved community.

What brings you joy?
My family, traveling, tending to my plants and as of recently my 3-month-old puppy Roma 💕

As 2020 wraps up, what is one thing you've learned about yourself this year? And what word would you use to sum this one up in?
This year was a tough one! I learned many things but one of the main takeaways was that we have to take life as it comes and sometimes we have to change things, whether it's our strategy, the way we worked, the way we saw each other, we adjust, and keep at it!

Meet Our Team: Ariana Federico, Youth Organizer

Tell us about the work you do with MCC and what calls you to it?
I am MCC’s Youth Organizer and I had previous worked with our Civic Engagement team. I work with Youth Council and support them on their campaign on establishing an independent commission on police practices. I also represent Mid-City CAN in coalitions like CPAT, CBA and YO! Cali.

The sustainability of the work we do relies on us also taking care of ourselves as part of it. How do you like to take care of yourself?
Self-care is sometimes hard to do, but I believe one has to be real about it. I love being outside anytime I can and spending time with loved ones. Also, it is essential to acknowledge when I just need time for myself. My siblings hold me accountable for making time for myself, so that is also helpful.

What is one of your favorite memories at MCC?
Our 2-day workshop on artivism was such a beautiful collaboration with Natalie from Self-Help Graphics & Art and local artist Lorain Khalil Rihan. I was introduced to artivism in high school through my Chicana educators and started learning more about activism throughout college while working at the Ethnic Resource Center. Representation matters, and so do our stories; I love that art invites another form of expression and empowers us by celebrating our culture and experiences.

What brings you joy?
Music, dance. This work is hard y'all, the biggest lesson I have had this year is to learn how to have fun with it. I appreciate that I am surrounded by amazing folks and young people with very great taste in music.

You just won a big campaign #YesonB! How are you feeling looking back on it?
It took a minute to click; it wasn't until I met with Youth Council that it really touched me. I look back at all the work we have accomplished, and I am so proud. The POWER of the PEOPLE Don't Stop!!! I am excited about what is to come within our city and county.

Meet Our Team: Brenda Diaz, Civic Engagement Coordinator

Tell us about the work you do with MCC and what calls you to it?
As the Civic Engagement Coordinator, I train and coordinate a field team, volunteers, and interns to educate voters and community members to become active and stay civically engaged. I’ve recently celebrated my third anniversary with MCC. It’s been great to see the impact we have had in the community.
    
The sustainability of the work we do relies on us also taking care of ourselves as part of it. How do you like to take care of yourself?
I take care of myself by going outdoors and being in nature. Taking a break from everything and just sitting in silence helps me recharge so that I can continue to do this work.
    
What is one of your favorite memories at MCC?
One of my favorite memories with MCC was celebrating our 30th anniversary. Being in the same room as community members, allies and supporters and seeing the excitement of everyone there was a good feeling. I can’t wait to see what we continue to accomplish and look forward to our next celebration. 🎉
    
What brings you joy?
At the start of quarantine I started baking as a hobby. I’ve only made cakes and cupcakes for my family and friends but want to learn how to make other desserts. The next dessert I want to tackle is a creme brûlée.
 
As we enter into the last couple of the months of 2020, what are your hopes for what the remainder of the year looks like?
I'm not sure what the remainder of the year looks like but currently my hope is to ensure that City Heights turns out to vote by mail or in-person (safely- following healthy guidelines).

Meet Our Team: Kendall Stewart, Administrative Assistant

Tell us about the work you do with MCC and what calls you to it?
Working at Mid City CAN has been and continues to be a bright spot in my career path. While working here I get to engage with a team of passionate, community-conscious people. Each day I am amazed by how our team continues to show up for communities while encouraging and equipping community members to become change agents. Being able to support that work and the people who do it has been pretty awesome!
    
The sustainability of the work we do relies on us also taking care of ourselves as part of it. How do you like to take care of yourself?
I am a huge advocate for self-care. Taking care of ourselves is so important because it allows us to function at our best. And when we are at our best we can give our best. Many of us have had to adjust to this sudden change in the work-environment and work-culture. With change comes adjustment which can be difficult. So, taking care of myself these days has been about acknowledging the tough days and giving myself grace and understanding. 
    
What is one of your favorite memories at MCC?
Picking one favorite memory is tough! One thing that I enjoyed the most about being in the office is the spontaneous conversations about social injustice. These conversations truly have impacted my work with some of my clients. 
    
What brings you joy?
My daughter Riley Rae and husband Richard bring me joy each day. Also... reality TV. 
 
We've been challenged a lot this year to adapt and be creative. Is there a new or unique experience you've had in lockdown that you'd like to continue post-COVID?
Oh, goodness! I have had to get very creative balancing school, work, and having my daughter at home. A lot of the balancing is centered around entertaining my amazing 2-year-old daughter. We have done more crafts, science experiments, and lots and lots of dancing. I really hope that when things start to open back up we are able to still find time to do those fun things. 

Meet Our Team: Belén Hernández García, Policy Advocate

Tell us about the work you do with MCC and what calls you to it?

I believe we are here to serve. That's my aspiration in life and at Mid-City CAN. 

As the Policy Advocate, I work with local partners and government offices to move campaigns forward. My role is to guide officials and their staff to recognize and address community needs. That's right, I attend a lot of meetings. As I follow the legislative process, I also simplify information and resources to share with community members. 

The sustainability of the work we do relies on us also taking care of ourselves as part of it. How do you like to take care of yourself?

I love spending time with family and in nature! Equally important, prayer and reflection.

What is one of your favorite memories at MCC?

Seeing everyone at staff meetings.

What brings you joy? 

Finishing what I start. Musics, food, and discussing what I read. 

This time of physical distancing has fostered a lot of new hobbies or returned people to old favorites. What have you been passing the time with?
I have been practicing the guitar and exploring new interests.