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First Person

Isabella Lawrence, center, is pictured at at re...

First Person: San Diegan Hopes To Continue Her Grandfather's Fight Against Injustice

June 15
By Brooke Ruth

Isabella Lawrence, 22, has attended several anti-racism protests in San Diego County over the last few weeks. Her grandfather, Richard Lawrence, protested during the Civil Rights movement. As part of our "First Person" series, Isabella spoke to her grandfather about the current protest movement and how it compares the movement in the '60s.

San Diego native Jordan Carroll in an undated p...

First Person: Being A Black Man In San Diego

June 5
By Alison St John, Megan Burke

As protests continue against police violence and racial injustices across the nation, San Diego native Jordan Carroll opens up about the "daily grind" of being a black man in "America's Finest City."

Nanda Mehta is pictured in an undated photo.

First Person: How Sharing A Story Can Help Build Community

April 30, 2019
By Megan Burke

As part of our First Person series, Nanda Mehta describes how speaking publicly about a taboo subject made her stronger and led her to encourage other South Asian women to share their own stories on stage.

Michelle Andrews and her sons, Tilden, 5, and M...

First Person: Encinitas Mom Goes Zero Waste

April 22, 2019
By Brooke Ruth

Michelle Andrews was pretty far along into her waste-reducing efforts when she learned about the trend of going zero waste. She prefers to refer to her efforts as living a low-waste lifestyle.

Tease photo for First Person: Supporting LGBTQ Youth ...

First Person: Supporting LGBTQ Youth In San Diego’s South Bay

March 11, 2019
By Marissa Cabrera

Lucero Camarena works to empower trans youth at the newly opened LGBTQ Youth Center in Chula Vista.

Lola Cheatham is pictured in front of her new a...

First Person: From Living In Car With 3 Children To A Home

Jan. 28, 2019
By Brooke Ruth

Lola Cheatham and her family were homeless for four years. In December, that changed. She moved into an apartment with her three daughters and their father with the help of rapid rehousing funds from the San Diego Housing Commission.

Pita Verdin, standing next to her Dia de los Mu...

First Person: Remembering And Honoring Departed Loved Ones On Dia De Los Muertos

Oct. 29, 2018
By Marissa Cabrera

Pita Verdin, a longtime resident of San Diego’s Sherman Heights neighborhood, has been creating a Dia de Los Muertos altar in her father’s memory for nearly 20 years.

Singer and songwriter Laura Reyes, who moved fr...

First Person: ‘San Diego Has Become My New Puerto Rico’

Sept. 20, 2018
By Marissa Cabrera

It's been a year since Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Tens of thousands of people left the island for the mainland, including singer and songwriter Laura Reyes, who settled in San Diego.

Matt Philbin is pictured, Aug. 30, 2018.

First Person: San Diego Landlord Makes It His 'Mission' To Rent To The Homeless

Sept. 3, 2018
By Brooke Ruth

Real estate developer and landlord Matt Philbin has chosen to rent to those who often get passed by.

Tease photo for First Person: Kadir Nelson On His Art...

First Person: Kadir Nelson On His Artistic Upbringing

Aug. 27, 2018
By Megan Burke

Long before he was an acclaimed artist and illustrator, Kadir Nelson was a student at public schools in San Diego and Chula Vista.

Dalouge Smith, the outgoing CEO of the San Dieg...

First Person: Making Music Education Accessible For All Children

July 30, 2018
Emily Jankowski / KPBS News

Dalouge Smith has helped the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory in expanding its mission to include making music education affordable and accessible for all children. Smith is stepping down from his position as CEO of the organization.

David McConnell is pictured at the Sherman Heig...

First Person: Finding A Safe Space In A San Diego Arts Organization

July 23, 2018
By Brooke Ruth

Urban Beats uses art as a platform for young adults to express themselves to improve their well-being and become more self-sufficient.

Nathan Donovan is pictured in his apartment, Ju...

First Person: I Moved To San Diego To Be Closer To Comic-Con

July 16, 2018
By Beth Accomando

Comic-Con seems like the perfect place for Nathan Donovan. So perfect that he decided to move to San Diego to be closer to the pop-culture convention.

Lucia Napolez in an undated photo.

First Person: My Coming Out Journey

July 9, 2018
By Marissa Cabrera

Napolez will be one of the dozens marching in the 44th annual San Diego Pride Parade on Saturday. As part of our First Person series, Napolez reflects on her coming out journey.

Leon Sanchez Reyes poses for a photo in his cap...

His Parents Were Deported Two Weeks Before College, Now He’s A UC San Diego Graduate

June 18, 2018
By Megan Burks

Leon Sanchez Reyes is one of an untold number of students who straddle the U.S.-Mexico border — caught between two worlds amid stepped-up immigration enforcement under President Donald Trump and, before him, President Barack Obama.

Wendy Hauffen teaches a gun safety course in th...

First Person: Teaching Women How To Shoot Guns

June 18, 2018
By Brooke Ruth

Wendy Hauffen is a firearms instructor at The Gun Range in Kearny Mesa. She has been teaching people how to safely shoot guns for the last six years. She specializes in teaching women and first-time shooters.

Max Disposti in an undated photo.

First Person: Strengthening North County's Gay Community

June 11, 2018
Michael Lipkin

A decade ago, there wasn’t any formal support in North County for people who often said they felt invisible.

Vista resident Ike Iloputaife is pictured with ...

First Person: The Personal Impact Of Being Racially Profiled By A Neighbor

June 11, 2018
By Alison St John, Megan Burke

Last month a neighbor took a photograph of Ike Iloputaife while he was walking his dogs. The photograph was then used by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department identifying him as a person of interest in a burglary investigation.

Zach Stones, associate director of the National...

First Person: The Connection Between Improv Comedy And Therapy

April 16, 2018
By Marissa Cabrera

During the day, Zach Stones is a clinical supervisor at the San Diego Center for Children working to support youth and families in foster care and the juvenile justice system. But a few nights a week he has a second career doing improv comedy.

Shiva Ghaed in an undated photo.

First Person: Las Vegas Survivor

April 2, 2018
By Michael Lipkin

Shiva Ghaed was one of the thousands of Las Vegas shooting survivors. A clinical psychologist at Naval Medical Center San Diego, she founded a support group for fellow survivors and their families.

Lola Cheatham is holding her 3-year-old daughte...

First Person: Living In A Car In San Diego With 3 Children

March 5, 2018
By Brooke Ruth

More than 500 families in San Diego County are homeless, according to the last point-in-time count. Lola Cheatham and her three daughters are one of those families.

Tease photo for First Person: From Refugee To Proprietor

First Person: From Refugee To Proprietor

Feb. 19, 2018
By Tarryn Mento

Queentabel Banka opened her hair braiding business in San Diego's City Heights neighborhood shortly after arriving in the U.S.

Jackie Robinson Family YMCA executive director ...

First Person: A Life's Trajectory Changed By A Grand Prize Win

Nov. 20, 2017
By Michael Lipkin

Michael Brunker thinks back to his 11th birthday a lot. It was 1963 and Brunker lived with his parents in Detroit. Ernie Harwell, the Detroit Tigers' announcer, was officiating a raffle with a classic Motor City grand prize: his-and-hers cars, a Dodge Dart and Plymouth Fury.

Alyce Smith-Cooper, poet laureate at the Vetera...

First Person: Veterans Museum's Poet Laureate On Honoring All Who Served

Nov. 6, 2017
By Marissa Cabrera

Alyce Smith-Cooper, the first poet laureate at the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, talks about how she is paying tribute to the "unsung and unacknowledged" heroes of the U.S. military.

Tease photo for First Person: Telling Students They, ...

First Person: Telling Students They, Too, Can Go From Compton To Neurobiology

Oct. 30, 2017
By Megan Burks

University of California faculty who were the first in their families to go to college are making an effort this year to connect with first-generation students. “You would not have predicted that I would be a full professor,” says a UC San Diego neurobiologist.

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