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Mid-City CAN Blog

Community Convening Brings Organizations Together

Mark Meyer looked out at the crowd and took a deep breath. “We’re going to tell you a story about the future,” Meyer began. “In five years, this is what it’s going to look like.”

Bicycle lanes. Beautiful, well-lit parks. Face-to-face, one-on-one interpretation at doctors’ offices. Halal food options in schools. This is the future of City Heights as Mark Meyer from National Conflict Resolution Center sees it.

Groups of residents and organizations gathered to cast their visions of the future at Mid-City Community Advocacy Network’s City Heights Community Convening on October 26. Formerly known as the Grantee Retreat, the Convening was open to all Building Healthy Community grantees in San Diego, as well as community members who volunteer to see these dreams become a reality.

 

Participants were given the chance to mingle through a Speed Networking exercise, rotating through a line of people in order to speak to everyone for two minutes each. In order to dig a little deeper, attendees then split into six groups for a Collaboration Exercise.

A panel of three speakers pressed the importance of voter registration in City Heights, which is in the second most disenfranchised district in San Diego County.  

“We have to work with people across the isle, across the street, and around the corner. We have to work with organizations that speak different languages because that’s what we have in D-9,” said Christopher Rice-Wilson, Director of Civic Engagement at Alliance San Diego. “If we don’t, you best believe downtown is going to forget about us. They’ve shown us that time and time again.”

Rice-Wilson pointed out the lack of voters from District Nine, stating that all of the issues that organizations fight for are going to be silenced if people do not get out there and vote. The only way to be heard by politicians, according to Rice-Wilson, is to speak up by casting a ballot. He ended up casting his own vision of the future of City Heights.

“We should be saying our community is vibrant, our community is important, our voices need to be heard.”

 

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