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About Us

Speak City Heights is a media collaborative aimed at amplifying the voices of residents in one of San Diego’s most diverse neighborhoods, City Heights.Through reporting and multimedia projects from our partners—KPBS, voiceofsandiego.org, The AjA Project and Media Arts Center San Diego—the collaborative will help residents and policymakers frame a discussion about what constitutes a healthy community, its barriers and how they’ll overcome them in City Heights.

Why City Heights? Its transformation from a sleepy San Diego suburb to the city’s dense, urban core has given way to a diverse community of immigrants and refugees. This vibrant state of flux both inspires and challenges the neighborhood. It is among San Diego’s poorest, lacking quality housing, updated infrastructure or easy access to healthcare and nutritious food.

These challenges have attracted millions of dollars’ worth of private and public investments in City Heights. It is becoming a microcosm of change that might inform how communities elsewhere define community health and go about securing it for their diversifying and growing populations.

We believe that a healthy information system and dialogue is critical to that process.

Our mission is to document the challenges specific to City Heights, and the work being done to address them. It is to inform City Heights residents of the changes happening in their neighborhood, so that they might participate in those changes. And it is to reach beyond neighborhood borders to spark a dialogue among all San Diego communities about our shared policies and, potentially, shared solutions.

Collaborative coverage will appear here and on partner television channels, radio stations and websites.

Speak City Heights is an independent, non-profit media project supported with initial funding from the California Endowment. Our community partner is Mid-City CAN. We are a fiscally-sponsored project of Media Arts Center San Diego, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

The content, creation and production of the website is a true collaboration of many partners. Especially website management, production and coordination from San Diego State University Professor Amy Schmitz Weiss, web design and production by Jessica Plautz, and Yueh-hui Chiang for web programming and development.

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Support from:

Mid-City CAN is a 22-year-old community collaborative. The Mid-City Community Advocacy Network's mission is to create a safe, productive, and healthy community through collaboration, advocacy, and organizing. It focuses on the City Heights community of San Diego. Mid-City CAN assists with Speak City Heights project management.

The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment focuses the majority of its resources on a 10-year strategic plan called Building Healthy Communities.

KPBS enriches the lives of people in the San Diego region through unique media services. These high quality radio, TV, Web and community activities educate, inspire, entertain and advance civic involvement, celebration of culture and the power of diverse perspectives. Find KPBS on cable channel 11 and Direct TV channel 15-1, on the radio at 89.5 FM, and on the web at www.kpbs.org.

Voice of San Diego is a public-service, nonprofit news organization that focuses on in-depth and investigative reporting. It covers the issues that are crucial to the region's quality of life: its politics, educational system, environment, housing, economy and more. Voice of San Diego aims to give residents the knowledge and in-depth analysis necessary to become advocates for good government and social progress.

Media Arts Center San Diego promotes access to film and video as tools for community self-expression and social change and supports the professional development of media artists. With its Teen Producers Project, People’s Post series and annual Latino Film Festival, the Media Arts Center endorses the inclusion of underrepresented communities in the media arts field and the portrayal of accurate images of these communities by mainstream media.

The AjA Project provides photography-based educational programming to refugee and displaced youth in San Diego. Utilizing participatory photography methods, AjA’s in-school and after-school programs encourage youth to think critically about their identities, develop leadership skills, and cultivate innovative thinking around culture and community issues. Since its founding, AjA has provided long-term programming for over 1,200 youth, and has shared their visual narratives with over 1 million viewers through large-scale public exhibits.