COVID-19 Resources for San Diego’s Diverse Communities

The County of San Diego has identified and partnered with diverse organizations to provide accurate COVID-19 information on preventing the spread of the virus, testing and the vaccine for San Diego’s communities. Please visit the websites below for up-to-date information and resources.  

If you’re part of a nonprofit organization, consider sharing this information on your various outreach channels to further distribute these important messages.

Together Against COVID & Multicultural Health Foundation

Together Against COVID is the Multicultural Health Foundation’s COVID-19 outreach to African American and Black communities. Its website provides the facts on COVID-19 through videos, testing information, vaccine updates and more to keep San Diego’s Black community safe from COVID-19. Plus, the foundation hosts free monthly virtual events featuring leading medical professionals answering frequently asked questions.

Follow along on Facebook.

San Diego Latino Health Coalition & Chicano Federation

San Diego Latino Health Coalition está conformado por organizaciones establecidas y con lazos estrechos en la comunidad latina. Es nuestra meta reducir la velocidad de infección del COVID-19, incrementar el acceso a información esencial, incrementar la participación en pruebas de Covid-19 y seguimiento de contactos, y lo más importante, salvar vidas. San Diego Latino Health Coalition es una organización no gubernamental comprometida a protegerlos, confía en nosotros que su información permanecerá privada. Puedes comunicarte con nuestros miembros con cualquier cuestión relacionada a la salud. ¡Estamos aquí para ayudarte! Llámenos para más información al 619-285-5600. Nosotros te podemos comunicar con el Centro de Recursos más cercano a ti.

The members of the San Diego Latino Health Coalition are established organizations with deep ties to the Latino community. Its goal is to reduce COVID-19 infection rates, increase access to vital information, increase participation in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, and most importantly, save lives. The San Diego Latino Health Coalition is a non-governmental organization committed to protecting you.

Follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

Union of Pan Asian Communities

The Union of Pan Asian Communities’ (UPAC) Community Health Worker Communication & Outreach Services is a program designed to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate information and resources about COVID-19 to Asian Pacific Islander populations. Along with many digital resources, this program offers weekly COVID virtual sessions and town halls. Multilingual resources are provided in Burmese, Chinese, Karen, Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

UPAC is collaborating with various community partners to outreach to Asian Pacific Islanders in the San Diego County area. If you would like to receive outreach materials or collaborate on this project, please contact Program Coordinator Dominic De Los Reyes at ddelosreyes@upacsd.com. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Ihsan Health Initiative

The Ihsan Health Initiative is a community response to provide information and resources for refugees and immigrants in San Diego County during the COVID-19 pandemic led by Somali Family Service of San Diego.

The Ihsan Health Initiative aims to:

  • Provide timely and updated public health and safety information
  • Use the expertise and trust of community health workers representing the Arab, Somali, and Congolese communities
  • Provide resources and navigation for refugees to access healthcare and social services

Click here to sign up for more information on upcoming town hall meetings. Follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

In addition, the County of San Diego’s COVID-19 page includes information about testing sites, daily updates, health orders and mental health resources. You can also text COSD COVID19 to 468-311 to get text alert updates.

For more information on other resources, such as food/meals, internet and business, read Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation’s Health & Safety Resources blog.


Union Bank Start-Up Pitch Competition Announces First Place Winner “Worthy Picks”

In Partnership with CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center and the City of San Diego, Three Entrepreneurs Recognized 

SAN DIEGO (Dec. 18, 2020) — Today, CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center and Union Bank announced the winners of the third Union Bank Start-Up Pitch Competition. In partnership with the City of San Diego, the virtual pitch competition is the culmination of four months of training and mentorship for the third group of businesses in the program. CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center is the region’s only business accelerator focused on serving low-to-moderate income and diverse founders.  

“With so many local businesses struggling because of the pandemic, the mission of CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center to elevate diverse businesses is as important as ever,” said Christina Bibler, economic development director for the City of San Diego. “Congratulations to Worthy Picks and to all the businesses that participated. I look forward to the City’s continued support for this program to fuel this pipeline of entrepreneurial talent and local jobs.”    

The first-place winner of the competition is Worthy Picks, a startup owned by Anahi Abe-Brower, offering a curated selection of eco-friendly products, specializing in bamboo and organic cotton, to inspire a sustainable lifestyle. Abe-Brower received a $7,500 cash prize to support her business. 

“Anahi Abe-Brower did a fantastic job of showing the judges the need for her eco-friendly business and growth trajectory,” said Jeanette Gann-Escobar, Union Bank Director and Branch Manager for the downtown San Diego location and a judge on the panel. “We agree with Anahi that big changes often start with small steps and look forward to seeing her company thrive.”  

The second-place award went to Meri Consulting Services, a professional services firm that provides proven sales, legal, digital transformation and marketing strategies to tech startups and small-to-medium size businesses, led by Meri Birhane. The startup won a $5,000 cash prize, as well as the “Audience Choice” Award based on public voting. 

Placing third, The STEAM Collaborative focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) with youth program leaders to innovate STEAM education solutions, targeting girls and African American youth. The company, which is led by Jasmine Sadler, was awarded $2,500.  

In total, nine companies competed in the virtual pitch competition and 14 companies have completed the business accelerator program overall: ALine Design + Drafting, Best Vibes Family Tribes, Best Way Construction Services, Blue Ribbon Kitchen, Los Brothers Tacos, Meals in Motion, Meri Consulting Services, Moon Garden Meditation, Nakamura Partners, San Diego Black Professionals, San Diego International Birthing Project, The STEAM Collaborative, Worthy Picks and Welfie.  

Each organization presented their ideas in a five-minute video pitch, and a panel of judges viewed and voted based on pre-determined criteria, including business model, market opportunity, job creation potential and long-term vision. All the videos can be viewed at bit.ly/CAJCpitch3.   

CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center is a strategic partnership between the City of San Diego, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and CONNECT w/ San Diego Venture Group.  

This program is funded in whole or in part with Community Development Block Grant program funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to the City of San Diego, and private funding from partners, such as the MUFG Union Bank foundation and bkm OfficeWorks. In addition to being a financial supporter, Union Bank colleagues have also provided volunteer support since its inception in 2018. 

About CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center
CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center (CAJC) is the region’s first low-to-moderate-income and diversity-focused business accelerator program, guiding startups that want to grow rapidly with all the support they need to be successful. A partnership between the City of San Diego, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and CONNECT w/ San Diego Venture Group, the program provides participants with mentors, weekly workshops and guidance on how to scale their businesses.

CAJC also includes a Business Resource Center, so that all entrepreneurs and small businesses can learn about local services and support to move their ideas and businesses forward. This program is funded in whole or in part with Community Development Block Grant program funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to the City of San Diego, and private funding from partners, such as MUFG Union Bank N.A. and bkm OfficeWorks.

To learn more or get involved, visit connectallsd.org




Check out what’s happening in your community this month by reading December’s Diamond Snapshot e-newsletter. From access to FREE resources to COVID-19 Assistance Programs and a variety of job opportunities, stay updated on the latest happenings in the Southeastern San Diego Community by subscribing today!

UPDATE: Due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, the Common Ground Theatre holiday concert on Dec. 19, 2020 has been canceled. Instead, the theater will offer a FREE encore Zoom performance of “Uplifting Black Voices — Men’s Edition 1, 2 and 3” on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 3 p.m. Register at www.commongroundtheatre.com. Free admission, donations appreciated.

>> Click here to read the full e-newsletter & subscribe <<


Common Ground Theatre Announces 2020-21 Season

Monique Gaffney
Actor Monique Gaffney rehearses for Common Ground Theatre’s free play reading of  “Speaking Truth to Power,” part of the theatre’s “Uplifting Black Voices” series.

Season Features World Premiere “Uplifting Black Voices” Play Readings, Outdoor Performances, in Partnership with Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation

San Diego’s premiere Black theatre, Common Ground Theatre, is proud to announce its 2020-21 season, filled with virtual and outdoor performances around the theme of “Raising Our Consciousness to a Higher Level.” In partnership with Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, Common Ground Theatre’s season seeks to provide a “common ground” for people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds to participate, interact, connect and share their love of theatre.

“Now is the time to discuss and think about things from different points of view,” said Common Ground Theatre Executive Artistic Director Yolanda Franklin. “This year’s season was put together with the concept that the African American/Black experience is different for everyone and all those stories are worth telling. We are sharing as many stories as we can this year, including through our free premiere play reading series, so that everyone has a chance to take part.”

“Common Ground Theatre is one of Southeastern San Diego’s jewels. Its focus on presenting work reflective of the African American experience is important. We have partnered with Common Ground to help increase its visibility in our community, and across the San Diego region,” added Jacobs Center President and CEO Reginald Jones. “Uplifting the assets of our community is critical to our mission. Common Ground Theatre has a rich history in Southeastern San Diego worthy of recognition beyond its community base.”

The initial season lineup includes:

“Uplifting Black Voices” – A Free, World Premiere 7-Part Digital Reading Series
Every month from December through June, Common Ground Theatre will highlight Black voices through short play readings by Black playwrights from San Diego and around the United States. All readings are free via Zoom. Sign up at commongroundtheatre.com. The first two months include:

  • December – Black Men’s Edition, Vol. 1, 2 & 3
    Saturday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m.: In “Speaking Truth to Power,” by Robert Alexander, three longtime roommates have difficult conversations on race, class, police brutality and white privilege. The play is meant to keep the conversation going over the racial divide in the Divided States of America.

    Sunday, Dec. 6 at 4 p.m.: In two plays by Cris Eli Blak, audiences will first hear “BOY,” a play where a young man must have the most honest and raw conversation of his life with his strong-willed father. It is a conversation that neither expected, and a resolution that is even more unexpected. In “Burden of Proof” a high school teacher who works with inner city kids must face his wife’s decision to defend a white supremacist.  The couple must navigate what the right thing to do is and what it means to live in a country where the truth is hardest to find.

    Saturday, Dec. 19 at 3 p.m.: Enjoy encore performances of all three play readings above! Free admission, donations appreciated.
  • January – Mental Health Edition 
    Saturday, Jan. 23 & Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021 at 4 p.m.
    : In “This is a Low,”by Cris Eli Blak,an African American teenager, Jude, with the help of a social worker named Mister, comes to terms with his emotions and actions. Jude learns over the course of the play that it doesn’t matter who you are, what you are or where you come from, it is okay to not always be okay.

“Day of Absence” by Douglas Turner Ward – Black History Celebration*
February 6, 7, 13 & 14, 2021 at 4 p.m.
In honor of Black History Month, Common Ground Theatre will produce an outdoor production of “Day of Absence,” winner of the coveted Vernon Rice and Obie Awards. This clever and enormously amusing satire is described by the author as “A Reverse Minstrel Show.” Here the cast, made up in white face, recount the uproarious emergencies that occur when a Deep Southern town is faced with the sudden and inexplicable disappearance of all its Black citizens. The New York Times wrote, “Laughter can be as effective as anger in telling white America what playwright [Douglas Turner Ward] has on his mind.” The show is scheduled to run at Jacobs Center’s Market Creek Amphitheater. Tickets will be $25 general admission, $35 VIP and registration will be posted once available at commongroundtheatre.com.

“Benevolence” by Ifa Bayeza*
April 17, 18, 24 & 25 at 4 p.m.
A small, segregated town is about to be turned upside down as fate brings a young boy from Chicago to a candy counter in Money, Mississippi. The second play in Ifa Bayeza’s powerful trilogy about Emmett Till, Benevolence is a haunting, unforgettable portrait of the collateral damage surrounding a case that gained international attention and sparked the Civil Rights Movement. Tickets for this outdoor production at Jacobs Center’s Market Creek Amphitheater will be $25 general admission, $35 VIP, and registration will be posted once available at commongroundtheatre.com.

“Little Rock” by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj – Juneteeth Celebration*
June 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 & 30; July 1-4, time TBD
Common Ground is bringing back an audience favorite, which was unfortunately shut down early in 2020 due to COVID-19. “History called it heroism. They called it high school.” – “Little Rock” tells the riveting true story of the “Little Rock Nine,” the first Black students to attend their city’s formerly segregated Central High School. What began as their quest for a better education soon became a national crisis, igniting the passions of a divided country and sparking a historic fight for justice in the Jim Crow South. Tickets for this outdoor play at Jacobs Center’s Market Creek Amphitheater will be $25 general admission, $35 VIP, and registration will be posted once available at commongroundtheatre.com.

*Note: Outdoor performances are pending government regulations at the time of production. As needed, alternate viewing arrangements will be announced at commongroundtheatre.com.

About Common Ground Theatre
Common Ground Theatre’s mission is “to produce classics and new works by and about people of African descent that entertain, educate and connect with audiences of all ages, cultures and backgrounds.” As the premier San Diego Black theatre, the theatre’s aim is to produce high quality theatrical productions that provide a “common ground” for all to participate, interact, connect and share their love of theatre. Learn more at commongroundtheatre.com and follow us on Facebook.

About Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation 
Founded in 1995, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation is focused on building communities and lifting lives. As a creative catalyst and incubator, the Jacobs Center works with the community to revitalize Southeastern San Diego’s Diamond Neighborhoods. This means transforming nearly 60 acres into sustainable developments that provide residents with greater access to resources and amenities that improve their quality of life. Additionally, the Jacobs Center works with community organizations and partners to increase residents’ economic opportunities, leadership skills and educational success. 

Learn more at jacobscenter.org and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.



Common Ground Theatre Launches “Uplifting Black Voices”

UPDATE: An encore performance will now be available on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 3 p.m. Register for the free Zoom performances at www.commongroundtheatre.com. Free admission, donations appreciated.

In partnership with Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, Common Ground Theatre is launching a series of free virtual play reading series, “Uplifting Black Voices.” The Black Men’s Edition Vol. 1, 2 and 3 start on Dec. 5 and 6 at 4 p.m. Register at www.bit.ly/BlackVoices123.

"Speaking Truth to Power"
"Uplifting Black Voices"


Art Gallery Pops Up at Southeastern San Diego’s Market Creek Plaza

Curated by Southeast Art Team, Gallery is Free for Public to Visit; Local Artists Featured

Southeastern San Diego’s art scene is getting some much-needed attention in the community with the Pop-Up Art Gallery at Market Creek Plaza, joining the Southeast Art Team and the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation in a new partnership.

The art gallery – the first in the area – welcomes community members to make an appointment for free and explore the space – filled with local artists’ paintings, jewelry and other work.

After spending years painting murals and hosting art-themed events in Southeastern San Diego neighborhoods, the Southeast Art Team’s goal of having a dedicated space to showcase local artwork and introduce the community to various art forms has become a reality. The Southeast Art Team is inviting local artists to submit their work by Nov. 30 for the opportunity to be displayed in the gallery.

“So many dreams are coming true through this gallery space – my own and those of the featured artists – many of whose art is being displayed for the first time,” said Southeast Art Team President Kim Phillips-Pea. “Since our soft opening less than a month ago, we have already had 200 visitors come through the gallery by appointment!”

The Southeast Art Team will also be extending opportunities to the surrounding community to learn art skills of their own. For everything they showcase and sell at the gallery, they’ll also provide an opportunity, through a workshop or class, for people to learn how to make it. These classes, hosted virtually for now, will range from jewelry making and beading to t-shirt design and screen printing, and even practical artist skills like framing artwork. Classes cost $10 – $20 for adults, with some free options, and youth classes are free when offered. To sign up for a workshop, visit calendly.com/popupartgallery.

The Pop-Up Art Gallery, which will be open until the end of February, will host a different series of artists every month. There will also be various themed exhibits, such as youth art, antiques, beekeeping and nature, hip hop, tribal masks and more.

November’s featured San Diego artists include Rick Bramhall, Vee Brooks, Anthony Burnette, Cee, Rob Clemons, Isabel Garcia, Araceli Gonzalez, Ashley Hawkins, Ami Judah, Joe Nathan-Segura, Kim Phillips-Pea, Racquel Rhone, Michael Rosenblat, Bryttney “Michelle” Salvant, Rashad Thompson, Shirish Villasenor, Zig Wharton and Ami Young-Hill. Each piece displayed in the gallery, from large pieces to small prints to handmade jewelry, is for sale.

The gallery is located at 342 Euclid Ave, Suite 406, San Diego, CA 92114 in Market Creek Plaza. Due to COVID-19 occupancy guidelines, the gallery must be visited by appointment only Tuesdays through Thursdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. As availability permits, appointments can be booked on the spot at calendly.com/popupartgallery. All guests will also be asked to sign a COVID-19 form for everyone’s health and safety.

The gallery’s dedicated Instagram also provides announcements and exhibit previews at @popupgalleryatmarketcreekplaza.


Access Youth Academy “Tops Off” New Squash Athletic & Academic Center in Southeastern SD

The organization had a “topping off ceremony” at the construction site last month. Pictured from left to right: City of San Diego Deputy Chief Operating Officer Erik Caldwell; Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation Community & Economic Development Officer Christie Marcella; Access Youth Academy Executive Director Renato Paiva

As part of the Town Center Master Plan, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation is proud to support Access Youth Academy as the organization works to complete its new squash athletic and academic facility in Southeastern San Diego. With the support of a $5.5 million grant from the City of San Diego, Access Youth Academy is constructing a gathering space that can be enjoyed by the entire community. This new facility is scheduled for completion in June 2021.

Founded in 2006, Access Youth Academy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of underserved youth aged 12 and over through a continuous life-skill and real-world preparedness program focused on the sport of squash. The Access Youth Academy offers sports training, academic support and financial guidance to help youth reach their full potential.

The new facility will allow Access Youth to serve first-generation college students, provide services to thousands of at-risk youth, provide multi-use facilities and offer a variety of outdoor activities – all at no cost! Its impact has been phenomenal thus far, resulting in a 100% college acceptance rate for all program participants since the program began. Access Youth students have been accepted to and earned degrees from some of the best schools in the nation, including Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and more.

The beautifully designed two-story structure will include sports, academics and business activities around a glass-walled entry and open reception and lounge area. It will include two wings, with squash courts, locker rooms, showers, classrooms, support rooms and more. Additionally, there will be a spacious courtyard with extra seating and social areas, including a 36-car parking lot. It is located in a vacant lot at 704 Euclid Avenue, which Access Youth Academy purchased from the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation.

To learn more about Access Youth Academy or how to get involved, visit: accessyouthacademy.org. Additional information can be found by viewing the organization’s fact sheets: Our Impact and Get to Know Us.


The Hardest Hit: Community Members Share COVID-19 Impacts

We’re sharing a few statistics from The Hardest Hit: Community Members Share COVID-19 Impacts survey we distributed in July, in partnership with The San Diego Association of Governments and the Road to Recovery Coalition.

Here are some of the findings for Southeastern San Diego zip codes:

  • 66% of Southeastern San Diego residents said they need assistance paying their rent and mortgage as a result of the pandemic.
  • Over half of Southeastern San Diego residents said that COVID-19 has affected their access to food and resulted in regularly not knowing if they would have enough food for their family.
  • More than 1 in 3 residents said they’ve experienced a reduction in hours at work due to COVID-19.
  • As a result of the pandemic, 79% of Southeastern San Diego residents said there must be extensive safety measures put in place for their child(ren) to participate on campus.

Thank you the Southeastern San Diego community for participating in the COVID-19 survey. For the latest ways to get help during the pandemic, please visit our resource page.



Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation has partnered with local writer and performing artist Gill Sotu for “Be About It,” a FREE Facebook and Instagram Live concert on Saturday, Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., celebrating community organizations through performances.

Each local entertainer will perform a custom set that pays tribute to the focus of each organization, followed by a short live discussion between entertainer, organization and Sotu about how San Diegans can engage with the nonprofit. In between each performance, children from the Diamond Education Excellence Partnership (DEEP) will share short poems and illustrations about the importance of community. Local artist Hue Love will also do a live painting throughout the concert.

The goal is to entertain and inspire San Diegans to support San Diego nonprofits and artists during the pandemic and beyond.

Performers include Cedrice (Finalist on NBC’s “The Voice”), Lee Coulter (Chart Topping Singer/Songwriter), Rebecca Jade (Multiple SD Music Award Winner), Bridget Gray (5-time Poetry Champion), Kree Rushing (N. County’s Acclaimed Comedian), Gill Sotu (Multiple Performing Artist of the Year Winner) and Maraya Performing Arts (South Bay’s Premiere Performing Arts Center). Recording support provided by local group Warehouse Media.

Featured local organizations include DEEP, Elementary Institute of Science, Fourth District Seniors Resource Center, House of Restoration Community Connection, Inc., Open Heart Leaders, Outdoor Outreach, Muslim Community Services.

This event is funded by the California Arts Council’s Artists in Communities Program grant.

To watch the concert, and for links to each entertainer and organization, please visit bit.ly/BeAboutItEvent. RSVP requested, but not required.

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