Author: Megan Burks

Weaving program tackles mental health issues in Karen community

In this story, we go to San Diego — where about 18 hundred refugees from Burma live – many of whom are ethnic minorities from Karen villages. The Karen and other groups have fought for autonomy from the Burmese government for 65 years. Here in the United States it’s another battle – mental health professionals say language barriers compound feelings of depression and anxiety in refugees, especially Asian women.

Refugee Farmers Grow Local Roots to National Market

On an overcast morning recently, the New Roots Community Farm in City Heights was awake with the spicy-sweet smell of mint. Noeuth Ith, a Cambodian refugee who usually harvests the herb in small bunches to make spring rolls at home, was quickly hacking bouquets of green leaves from their bases and dunking them in water. With the help of other New Roots farmers, she boxed more than 30 pounds of the fragrant leaves to sell. A first for the International Rescue Committee farm, the large-scale harvest was commissioned by Earnest Eats, a granola company based in Solana Beach.

Squeeze on community colleges brings new urgency to Dream Act

Item No. 13 on his California State University admissions application was the first time it really hit him—Victor, who asked that his last name be withheld, didn’t have a social security number. It was a fact he had grown up with since the age of three when his mother brought him to City Heights from Coahuila, Mexico. When asked to produce the 10-digit number during his junior year of high school, he finally understood its significance. He was undocumented.

City Heights in full color

The Mid-City region of San Diego can feel a bit frenetic—a hurried avenue carries motorists, transit and pedestrians past a bevy of international restaurants and markets, most covered in bright paint, wrought iron and advertisements in multiple languages. But local artist Dominique Guillochon finds calm in this part of town with his camera lens. By framing just light and colors, he hushes the streets and finds beauty in the unassuming details.

Grassroots programs transform the corner market despite stalled legislation

In many low-income communities, nutritious foods are hard to come by and liquor, cigarettes and processed foods dominate the shelves of the local corner markets. Now state and federal initiatives are in the works to help locate more full-service grocery stories in those communities and give the smaller stores an incentive to carry more nutritious products.

Three SD communities square off over Mid-City redevelopment

For nearly seven decades, the Pearson Ford car lot at Fairmount and El Cajon Boulevards in central San Diego was a piece of San Diegans’ collective conscious. Its familiar jingle echoed unchanged on radios throughout the county until the cars cleared out in 2008. Now, with the empty land awaiting redevelopment, the site evokes tension more than it does regional nostalgia. That’s because it sits at the crossroads of three communities that each represent a distinct socioeconomic stratum in San Diego and, thus, harbor different hopes for what might fill it in. Wealthier residents in Kensington and Talmadge want a departure from the social services that have dominated redevelopment in the area since 1994, while those in City Heights fear such a departure might fuel gentrification and an exodus of low-income residents.

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