Giving Tuesday 2022

Giving Tuesday

Support Mid-City CAN with a Donation on Giving Tuesday!

Hello friends,
This is Diana Ross, the Executive Director at Mid-City CAN. I hope that you had a wonderful holiday.

We have a lot to be grateful for at Mid-City CAN thanks to the hard work of our staff and amazing volunteers. Many of you know that we’ve been advocating for Youth Opportunity Passes for over a decade and this year we’re proud to receive two awards for our work, Circulate San Diego’s Innovation Award and Climate Action Campaign’s Climate Justice Award. We’re also thrilled about the news that there’s been a 25 percent increase in overall youth ridership countywide thanks to YOP.

Our Civic Engagement team had a successful Get Out the Vote campaign, exceeding their goals in registering and educating City Heights residents about the importance of voting. The team also held its first Health, Pride, and Resiliency event in June. Our Youth Council’s Artivism program in the summer was a success, attended by 42 students from 16 different schools. Their four-year campaign to establish the Commission on Police Practices will successfully come to an end in December. Our Juvenile Justice team has been campaigning to end the schools to prison pipeline and we’re encouraged to hear that arrest rates for youth in San Diego County were at 10-year lows in 2018 according to SANDAG.

You can continue to count on Mid-City CAN to advocate for positive changes in the community and provide programs that develop youth in City Heights into leaders. So today on Giving Tuesday, we hope that you’ll consider making a donation. Your gift is an investment to the community. Thank you for your support!


Giving Tuesday 2022

Giving Tuesday 2022

Help Mid-City CAN create lasting change in City Heights and the greater San Diego area! Tuesday, November 29th, is Giving Tuesday, a global movement created to inspire individuals to give back. Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to support the ongoing programs at Mid-City CAN designed to bring social justice and equity to City Heights and beyond while helping grow and support youth leaders and advocates in our community.

Highlights photos

We've made great strides in our campaigns thanks to your help. Some highlights in 2022:

  • After almost 11 years of advocacy by our Transportation Justice ITCH team, the Youth Opportunity Pass (YOP) pilot program began on May 2022 providing no-cost public transit to youth 18 years old and under.
  • A four-year campaign by Youth Council helped established a Commission on Police Practices that will ensure transparency and accountability when abuses of police power occur.
  • Provided an Artivism (arts and activism) program in the summer that was attended by 42 students from 16 schools. 
  • Civic Engagement team educated residents in City Heights about the importance of voting through door knocking, phone calls, and voter engagement events such as “Boba and Ballot” at Café X.
  • Civic Engagement team held their first "Health, Pride and Resiliency" event in City Heights to improve the health disparities that the QTIPGM community (Queer, Trans, Intersex, People of the Global Majority) encounter and provide resources from Community Based Organizations to mitigate those disparities.

Together, we're excited about what we'll accomplish for the community in 2023! We ask that you consider donating to Mid-City CAN to help us continue to bring social justice and equity in our community! Our Giving Tuesday campaign will begin on November 19 and end on December 6 with a goal of raising $5,000. We'll have a 10-day countdown on our social media channels starting on November 19 to highlight some of the work of our Momentum Teams.

Thank you for your support! You can donate by clicking the donation button below:

Donation Button 

Neighborhood Captains Record Voting PSA

The Civic Engagement team's Neighborhood Captains took time from their super busy schedule to record a Public Service Announcement about the importance of voting.

Mid-City CAN and the captains enjoyed working with the incredible and professional folks at Media Arts Center! Our team stopped by the Idea Lab in City Heights by the City Heights/Weingart Library and worked with Juan Lopez of Media Arts Center. 

It was the first time that the Neighborhood Captains ventured into a creative space such as the Idea Lab. "They were really impressed by how professional the (Idea Lab) set up is and all the equipment," said Victor Ponce, Neighborhood Captain.

The captains were thrilled by the experience and one of them immediately wanted to see how he did on camera and Juan obliged by showing Sergio the footage. A huge thank you to Juan for filming, editing, and producing the video! Mid-City CAN has enjoyed working with Juan and Media Arts Center over the years.

Great job and thank you, Neighborhood Captains!


Get Out the Vote for the November 8 California General Election! For voting resources visit our Voter Resource page by clicking here.

Learn more about the wonderful folks at Media Arts Center by visiting their page.

NOTE: Video can also be viewed with Spanish subtitles by clicking here.

Check out the Behind-the-Scenes photos from the video shoot!

📷: Ron Sanchez, Mid-City CAN

Update on the Commission on Police Practices

Youth Council

The Commission on Police Practices is finally headed towards the finish line!

On Monday, October 3, Mid-City CAN, members of Youth Council along with San Diegans for Justice and Women Occupy San Diego delivered public comment during the public hearing for the CPP at the City Administration Building. Agenda Item 165 (Determination of Collective Bargaining Matters Related to Proposed Implementation Ordinance for the Commission on Police Practices and Proposed Amended Interim Standard Operating Procedures) passed with 7 Yeas and 1 Nay (1 absent). The ordinance was at an impasse for seven months because of two issues:

  • San Diego Police Officers Association pressed for the city to allow family members of law enforcement officers to join the commission. City Council denied this request.
  • Mid-City CAN, our allies, and the community asked that individuals with a felony record should be appointed to the commission since they have served their sentence. Council members did not remove this prohibition.

On November 2022, San Diego voters overwhelmingly approved Measure B which dissolved the police review board and mandated the creation of the CPP. Measure B was authored by Andrea St. Julian, co-chair of San Diegans for Justice. “There is nothing about me or my background that makes me anti-police. In fact, Measure B was about helping everyone be safe, including police officers," said St. Julian during her public comment.

"Today, our City Council invoked the will of the People who overwhelmingly chose to establish the Commission on Police Practices in order to provide San Diegans with the confidence of knowing there will be transparency and accountability when abuses of police power occur. I thank and congratulate Council President Pro Tem Monica Montgomery Steppe and her team for their years of hard work to make San Diego a safer and more just community," Council President Sean Elo-Rivera said in a statement.

Mid-City CAN thanks our Youth Council members Denisse and Jeannette for their amazing support!

Click here to view photos from the hearing.

📷: Ron Sanchez, Mid-City CAN

Youth Council Strike a Pose for the Camera


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


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


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.

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


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.


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.


"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.


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!


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.


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:

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.


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:

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

📷: Ron Sanchez, Mid-City CAN

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.