During the summer of 2017, interns of the Cross-Border Community Station in San Ysidro worked closely with a group of community leaders to identify and advance projects along three tracks that align with our partner’s vision to organize and empower residents in San Ysidro and South San Diego to take an active role in their communities by engaging them in the civic, sustainability, and quality of life issues affecting our region (from casafamiliar.org).
CBI and the Blum Summer Field Internship have been fortunate to count on support from community promotoras in the time that we’ve worked with Casa Familiar. In San Ysidro, promotoras affiliated with Casa dedicate time and energy to efforts that range from facilitating sessions of the community-based disease management workshop known as Tomando control de mi salud (translation: Taking Control of my Health), to coordinating transitional housing programs provided by Casa, to teaching free exercise classes at different locations in the community, to advocating for the development of necessary improvements to public works (such as the construction of a sidewalk on the road between the principal residential section of the community and the local High School that was established in 2002). Promotoras in San Ysidro are actively involved in efforts to build a better community, all the while they are caring for family members in a matriarchal role, taking night classes to earn a GED, and/or working a part-time job. It has been inspiring for all involved in CBI’s programming in San Ysidro with Casa Familiar to have the opportunity to collaborate with the women who take on this role in the community.
Elizabeth Hensley C., Mellon Bridge Staff / CBI Field Coordinator
Andrew Sturm, CBI Graduate Fellow / Field Coordinator
Professor Fonna Forman, Political Science
Professor Teddy Cruz, Visual Arts
2017 Visiting Undergradaute Alumni:
Francis Yu, UCSD Urban Studies and Planning, Communications
Ethan Ma, UCSD Urban Studies and Planning
Nicholas Locke, UCSD Human Biology, Global Health minor
Following an initial period of ethnographic research, the 2017 San Ysidro team worked with instructors, Casa Familiar leadership and community members to identify project areas:
I. Community nutrition and sustainability:
Who was involved:
UCSD affiliates: Sara Lucero , Nicholas Locke, Francis Yu, Elizabeth HC
Community partners: Trinidad Herrera, Ana Chiquete, Elsa Escalante, Tiernan Seaver, 2017 RLA Egresadas (Casa Familiar); Cat Henning, Tanya Raz, Daniela Calvario, Marya Nash (Wild Willow Farm and Education Center)
Resident Leadership Academy graduates, interns and promotoras learning about vermiculture at Wild Willow Farm and Education Center, during a workshop on composting.
The arm of the 2017 program edition that focused on supplementing community nutrition and sustainability initiatives engaged in activities along two tracks:
1. One line of action involved fomenting a relationship between Casa Familiar promotoras and Wild Willow Farm and Education Center through the realization of two workshops, which considered different aspects of cultivating food: composting and container gardening. Sarina Vega, Community Development Assistant at Casa Familiar during summer 2017, played a crucial role in facilitating the initial connection with Wild Willow.
2. The second line of action to foment links between community nutrition and sustainability in San Ysidro was spearheaded by Sara Lucero (UCSD Microbiology and Anthropology, Global Health minor).
Read more about Sara Lucero’s Mission for Nutrition here.
II. Housing (in)security and access to educational resources
Who was involved:
UCSD Affiliates: Ashley Duong, Jahaziel Aguilera, Jorge Arana, Andrew Sturm, Teddy Cruz
Community Partners: David Flores, Sarina Vega, Mireya Hernandez, Ivonne Rojas, Tiernan Seaver, Ignacio Gómez, Estela Flores
Here, the 2017 interns proceeded along two branches:
1. The first considered housing insecurity in San Ysidro as a sense to give perspective on daily life in the border community, and was developed through a collaboration between Ashley Duong (UCI Literary Journalism + Philosophy) and Jahaziel Aguilera (UCSD Computer Science). Through interviews with Casa staff and community membersl, Ashley and Jahaziel, produce(d) a journalistic piece based on research, documenting, examining and exploring the lives of people at the border through personal narratives, looking at the specific obstacles of people facing housing insecurity at the border, that would not only aid the development of the Living Rooms but also give a voice to the people.
The final report that Ashley and Jahaziel co-produced as a result of their research efforts really speaks for itself. See their report here.
2. The second line of investigation proposed future partnership between Casa Familiar, CBI, and UCSD Department of Education Studies, and was headed by Jorge Arana (UCSD Literature, Education Studies minor).
Through conversations with community promotoras, the project aimed to identify community needs that could be addressed through University presence in Living Rooms at the Border, making reference to challenges that community youth have faced in the process of applying for university and in transitioning away from home at the start of their college careers.
In his final report, Jorge presents an initial outline toward structuring the propose space.
See his report here.
III. Transportation justice and air quality initiatives
Who was involved:
UCSD Affiliates: Cynthia Frausto, Anika Ullah, Elizabeth HC,
Community Partners: David Flores, Elsa Escalante, Maria Cervantes, Manuela Casteñeda (Casa Familiar); Jason Wells (San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce); Rudy López, Guillermo Cornejo, Aneth Flores (San Ysidro Air Quality Community Steering Commmittee); Dr. Aldo Rodríguez (San Ysidro Health Center); Dr. Penelope Jenny Quintana (San Ysidro Air Quality and Border Traffic Study); Juan Antonio Ramírez (Circulate San Diego); Héctor Espinoza (Sweetwater School District)
This project area, likewise, developed along two tracks:
1. One of the 2017 projects along this track was proposed by Anika Ullah, soon after the June 2017 Air Quality and Border Traffic study website unveiling. Anika developed a collaborative video documentary, to gather community perspectives about the issue of air quality in San Ysidro, and its associated health impacts. A narrative arc for the documentary, which features community promotoras as narrators and protagonists, emerged from the fieldwork, interviews, and production activities engaged in by Anika and her team throughout the internship.
Trinidad Herrera, Maricela Tellez and Elsa Escalante accompany Anika and Javier Martínez to speak with an audience of UCSD students and San Ysidro community members, following a soft screening of the documentary at the FRONT in San Ysidro on September 25, 2017.
2. Cynthia Frausto advanced a protect initiated by the promotoras with support from Casa Familiar to raise public awareness about the dangers for local high school students walking between San Ysidro High School and their homes in San Ysidro along Otay Mesa Road.
Elsa Escalante walks to the side of Otay Mesa Road under construction, summer 2017.
An image of the flyer prepared to promote the Sin Límites community gathering on August 24th, 2017
For more information, please see the 2017 BSFI San Ysidro Final Report.