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Migrant Shelter At Convention Center Closing

 July 2, 2021 at 5:51 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Friday July 2nd. >>>> The convention migrant shelter is closing... More on that next, but first... let’s do the headlines…. ###### The NAACP San Diego branch is calling on the California Interscholastic Federation, or the CIF, to re-investigate other racist incidents at local highschools this year. The call follows the CIF’s decision on wednesday to vacate the Coronado highschool boys basketball team’s championship win, after tortillas were thrown at their opponents of Orange Glen High--a largely latino team. Francine Maxell is the president of NAACP San Diego Branch. She says a similar incident occured not long ago where a Cathedral Catholic football player wore a t-shirt saying “Catholics vs Convicts” and posted the image on social media in reference to their opponents at Lincoln High. She is calling on the CIF to reopen the investigation against Cathedral Catholic and apply stricter sanctions. ######### Mayor Todd Gloria released a new report with findings on how to strengthen the city’s ability to prevent and end homelessness in San Diego. The report comes from Matthew Doherty, the former executive director for the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. Doherty’s report had four main findings: the city needs better leadership in this area, needs better communication of strategy and vision, needs to strengthen its internal partnerships, and needs to take advantage of current opportunities, such as funding from the American Rescue plan. ######## The recall election against California Governor Gavin Newsom has been set for September 14th of this year. With just over two months until the election, candidates will be ramping up their ad campaigns. A spokesman for Newsom’s team said the recall is an attempt by Trump Republicans to grab control in California. But many of Newsom’s GOP challengers have criticized the governor’s leadership during the pandemic and said they want to make the state more affordable. ######### From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. The San Diego Convention Center has played a huge role in providing temporary housing to thousands of unaccompanied migrant children for the past three months. But as the facility prepares to reopen for summer events, the shelter is closing. KPBS’s Alexandra Rangel has the latest on efforts to help reunify children with their sponsors. Mayor Todd Gloria confirming in a tweet Wednesday night that the last of the children staying at the Convention Center had left the city. We spoke to the Mayor Thursday, he expressed his gratitude to those involved in the effort. Todd Gloria, San Diego Mayor “I think every san diegan cna be proud of everything that happened in the convention center, the way these organizations, the private public all working together to protect these kids, that’s what we should do and sand diego stepped up.” Since the opening of the shelter at the convention center in late March, The Department of Health and Human Services says more than 2,400 unaccompanied children have been reunified with their sponsors. A recent report by the Department of homeland security says apprehensions of unaccompanied children for the month of June are down by 21% from their peak of 19,000 in March. As workers at the shelter begin to break down operations at the convention center, the CEO of the Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee, Arnulfo Manriquez, says the feeling is bittersweet. About 150 staff members with MAAC worked with the children at the convention center. They were one of many organizations that provided services at the shelter. From making sure the children were well cared for, to creating engaging activities and educating them. Arnulfo Manriquez, MAAC Founder & CEO “Education plays a big part of it as well. They go through a process of understanding what they’re situation is and what they’re rights are.” Manriquez says meaningful impacts were made between staff and the children. Arnulfo Manriquez, MAAC Founder & CEO “Just like when you get an attachment to a teacher in your class, and you love your teacher and twenty years later you still remember the impacts that the teacher had. Todd Gloria, San Diego Mayor “I believe we will continue to have opportunities to step up and serve and I believe that we will. It may not be at the convention center, it may be more modest efforts.” Gloria says San diego will continue to be a welcoming city for all. Alexandra Rangel, KPBS News. ########## The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt blows to many people’s mental, physical, and economic health…. Especially in San Diego’s immigrant communities. KPBS reporter Max Rivlin-Nadler tells us about how a group of peer counselors in City Heights are trying to heal the community…by both connecting people to much-needed services… and just listening to them. Case numbers for the COVID-19 pandemic are down this summer…. But the devastation the pandemic wrought on immigrant communities in San Diego is still very much being felt. Hamadi Jumale, the Executive Director of the Somali Bantu community of San Diego, can hear it in the voices of the people who call him at all hours, looking for help in a desperate situation. I think in the community a lot of the community doesn’t know their rights. Very few, know their rights, working with the community, we’re educating the community. Help is out there -- thanks to a steady stream of federal and state funding to stave off evictions, help people make up lost income, and get utility bills paid. But connecting these communities to help, in languages they actually understand,has been a challenge after such a chaotic year. While Jumale takes these types of emergency calls as part of his regular job, he’s now joined by over 24 other crisis counselors, part of a project that began in March from the San Diego Refugee Communities Coalition, Cal Hope Counseling Project, and the United Women of East Africa. The project came together after a study found immigrants in San Diego were three times more likely to be unemployed than other San Diegans. We know that the pandemic was hard on everybody, things like increased anxiety around constant health monitoring, loss of jobs, the physical isolation from support systems in communities. We know that this impacts the immigrant community greater than other communities. That’s Claire Enemark. She’s helping to lead this program, which uses federal emergency money to train crisis counselors, who can speak with immigrant communities in their own languages. Right now, help is available in 18 languages.Immigrants can call a single number, then get put through to someone who speaks their language. The counselors are pulled from eleven local community organizations, many based in City Heights, who have close ties to the local refugee and asylum-seeker communities. Our program is really unique, one of the main aspects that main aspects that makes it unique is that it’s a peer-based workforce. We have twenty-five community support navigators who themselves are new immigrants, so they themselves have this lived experience of surviving this pandemic, as we all have, but they have this unique experience. Flyers advertising the program have been distributed at immigrant-owned marketplaces throughout City Heights. And its number has been shared on whatsapp message groups, all trying to reach the community where it’s at. The hope is that the counseling program meets all the needs of people at the moment of crisis… and that a financial crisis can easily segue into one involving someone’s mental health. One of our community support navigators was reached out to, a client reached out to her, said he needed some help in paying his utility bill. He wasn’t able to pay. She connected him with SDGE rate reduction program, helped him translate, and in that process, he opened up to his community support navigator that his wife had died just a few months earlier. And because there was a lot of mental health stigma, had our staff not been providing that practical support up front, he might not have felt comfortable opening up. For Jumale, with the Somali Bantu Community, who has been already doing this work for years, he’s happy to see that there’s a new generation of peer counselors getting trained… especially during a time when the need is so great. What he wants to see most though, are mental health professionals and social workers coming out of the community. With the next generation, we want to make sure we have our psychiatrists, we have counseling in our community, They want a one-on-one, where they can understand each other. In the future, my expectation we see a generation of counselors psychiatrists, who speak their language in the community. The program is slated to run through the fall. Its leaders hope that further funding allows for the program to continue as long as the mental and financial impacts of the pandemic are still being felt. . Anyone looking for help can call (888) 222-0980. Max Rivlin-Nadler, KPBS NEWS ####### State prisoners play a crucial role in battling California's wildfires. But as inewsource investigative reporter Jill Castellano reports, these inmates are still under a strict covid-19 rule that’s affecting morale at their living quarters. CASTELLANO: Inmate firefighters live at one of 35 low-security camps in rural areas of California. Spouses and children used to join them on the grounds for picnics and barbecues. CASTELLANO: When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the corrections department banned in-person visitations. Now, 16 months later, families are still waiting to see their loved ones face to face. JILLIAN CASE: “He hasn’t had physical touch, he hasn’t had a hug for that long.” (8 seconds) CASTELLANO: That’s Jillian Case. Her husband lives at a fire camp outside Redding. Once higher security prisons resumed visits in April, Case thought she would be allowed back at the fire camp soon. But it hasn’t happened yet. CASE: “That’s a grueling job to do for a dollar an hour. And the benefit of it is you get to have these visits with your family, and it’s like much less institutionalized. And now it just seems like that’s not really a big benefit.” (15 seconds) CASTELLANO: The corrections department says it’s in the final stages of developing a plan to resume visits at fire camps. CASTELLANO: For KPBS, I’m inewsource investigative reporter Jill Castellano. That was inewsource investigative reporter Jill Castellano. inewsource is an independently funded nonprofit partner of KPBS. ########## Coming up.... A new study from UC Berkeley says residential segregation in San Diego has only gotten worse over the years. Plus, we have a new film review from our film critic Beth Accomando. All of that next, just after the break. When you’re out and about in San Diego, it might seem like an incredibly diverse place. But what do you see when you’re back home in your own neighborhood? Do you see the same mix of races and ethnicities? Chances are the answer is no. San Diego’s residential segregation has worsened over the past generation, and new research from UC Berkeley lays it out. Hayley Smith wrote about this for the LA Times, and she spoke with KPBS’ Cristina Kim on the Roundtable. Here’s that interview. And that was Hayley Smith, a staff writer for the LA Times, speaking with KPBS’ Cristina Kim on the Roundtable. ############ You’ve probably heard of Woodstock, right? But have you heard of the Harlem cultural festival that happened that same summer of 1969? Most likely not. The new film summer of soul accesses a treasure trove of never before seen footage to create a vivid documentary about the event. KPBS film critic Beth Accomando has this review. Over the course of six weeks in 1969, veteran TV producer Hal Tulchin filmed The Harlem Cultural Festival. Then the footage sat in his basement for 50 years because he couldn’t get anyone interested in turning it into a documentary. CLIP Because the revolution will not be televised… Now musician and first time director Ahmir Questlove Thompson has crafted a film that both celebrates the amazing event as well as placing it in a larger context. Thompson interviews attendees and artists, and plays footage that they never knew existed. Their reactions create a beautiful swell of emotions. Musa Jackson, who went as a small child, recalls… CLIP It was the ultimate Black BBQ… and then there was the music… Don’t ya hear me calling to ya… Summer of Soul is an exhilarating portrait of an event that showcased a broad spectrum of Black culture and then sets that celebration against the turbulent political backdrop of the 1960s. So take a trip back in time and immerse yourself in this glorious film. Beth Accomando, KPBS News. That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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The emergency shelter set up at the San Diego Convention Center to house unaccompanied migrant children is shutting down. Meanwhile, state prisoners who play a crucial role in fighting fires are still under strict covid-19 protocols that continue to impact their lives. Plus, a new study finds segregation in San Diego has gotten worse over the years.