Going Back to Basics

Almost a year ago the world came to a complete halt as the worst pandemic in over one hundred years ravaged our communities altering what we do and how we do it at home, schools, work sites, medical facilities, businesses, recreation facilities, places of worship and every other place where we interact with one another. 

While it is difficult to quantify the full extent of the crisis, many of our beloved family, friends, neighbors and coworkers contracted corona, some recovered, others lost work and the ability to make a living, many lost and buried someone dear and close to us. We are deeply saddened and touched by the tragic loss of so many community members, including students from our Universidad Popular classes. We are extremely concerned about the heavy and disproportionate burden our families shoulder as frontline and essential workers.Our sincerest condolences to every family who has lost loved ones. 

While the legacy of 2020 is too much to overcome, forget or ignore, one way our team at Universidad Popular is coping with tragedy and loss is by affirming our fervent commitment to building people power. We are deepening education focused on racial and economic justice, intensifying our advocacy efforts to inform policymakers about historic neglect and the disproportionate impact of covid to immigrants and Black and Brown communities, and working with decision makers to develop equity-focused relief and recovery strategies that are going to  protect health, promote economic justice and save lives. 

Throughout the month of March we are celebrating and showcasing Mujer power. We commemorate extraordinary human rights defenders such as Berta Caceres and all other women who change society for the better every day in the areas of politics, work, health, education, arts and community work. Viva la Mujer! 

We are going back to basics. We are building from the bottom-up. We are centering our community voices. We are owning our space. We are the solution. Let’s build people power together!

In solidarity,

We have a new logo!

Our team of maestras chicanas and Latinas adopted a dahlia to represent Universidad Popular because of its cultural roots, diverse beauty, and resilience. Originating in Mexico and Central America, dahlias have been used for food and medicine for thousands of years.

The dahlia symbolizes inner strength, change, creativity, dignity and life long commitment between people. These are qualities that we proudly embrace and values that guide our work. As cultivators of humanity, we honor the wisdom of our ancestors and commit to creating and preserving precious knowledge for future generations.

Learn more about the dahlia here.

COVID-19 Workplace Outreach Project (CWOP)

Universidad Popular joins the statewide education campaign, COVID-19 Workplace Outreach Project (CWOP) to reach frontline workers and employers who have been disproportionately hit by the pandemic. The project aims to provide information and resources on COVID-19 safety guidance, vaccination, and workers’ rights.

Universidad Popular and the Employee Rights Center (ERC) were invited to co-lead outreach and education efforts in San Diego County for their expertise and deep reach into underserved working class communities in the border region. 

Building on the successful infrastructure created to increase participation in the 2020 census and prior experience working with working class communities, selected organizations are going to conduct outreach and intensive education activities for workers and employers in high-risk industries such as food services including restaurant and grocery, janitorial including housekeeping and hospitality, warehouse, agriculture, food processing and manufacturing. 

Under the auspices of Comite Civico del Valle, Inc., and in partnership with Employee Rights Center (ERC), Building Skills Partnership, City Heights Community Development Corporation, California Rural Legal Assistance, Earthlodge, LA Black Worker Center, Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund, Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California, and San Diego Workforce Partnership, Universidad Popular is proud to be part of a network of 110 community-based organizations led by The Center at Sierra Health Foundation, the California Department of Social Services and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, working in communities of color with essential workers who continued to go to work despite suffering from a devastating health and economic crisis. 

Through trusted messengers and in collaboration with community-based partners, Universidad Popular is committed to minimize the spread of the virus, overcome vaccine hesitancy and save lives.

Worker’s Rights Presentations Available

To learn more about the campaign join us via zoom on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 from 3-4:30 PM for a general presentation about the project. Register here.

To request a presentation for organizations, businesses, workers, or community leaders, please contact [email protected].

Citizenship Class

Universidad Popular promotes the right to citizenship and full enjoyment of the rights and responsibilities afforded to citizens under the U.S. Constitution.  According to the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the States wherein they reside."


The naturalization process is a rigorous pathway by which non-citizens living in the United States can petition to obtain citizenship. Persons wanting to become citizens must be at least 18 years old, must be permanent residents, must be able to read, write, and speak English, must know U.S. history and government, and must have lived in the United States for 5 continuous years, or three if the person is married to a citizen. Persons must submit an application, pay a fee of $725, attend a hearing to discuss the person’s background and character, answer questions about U.S. history and government. Finally, the person must swear an oath of allegiance to the laws and Constitution of the United States. The process can take up months to a year. 

Benefits of Citizenship

Becoming a U.S. citizen is a life-changing opportunity. Persons gain access to opportunities available only for citizens such as protection from deportation, children under the age of 18 who are lawful permanent residents automatically may become U.S. citizens when parents naturalize, gain eligibility for government jobs and scholarships, freedom to travel without restrictions, file immigration petitions for family members, serve on a jury, gain the right to vote in local, state and federal elections, and acquire dual citizenship - being citizen of two countries.

We are here to help

During the last four years, we helped hundreds of individuals successfully complete their naturalization process. We encourage every eligible lawful permanent resident (LPR) to take the next step towards becoming U.S. citizens.

Citizenship Class in Spanish

We offer “Ciudadanía y Educación Cívica” virtual class in Spanish (Spanglish), every Tuesday from February 16, 2021 to April 30, 2021 from 6 PM – 7 PM. The class is open to anyone interested in learning U.S. history and government. Students are able to practice the questions in preparation for their naturalization interviews. Register here.

For additional information about citizenship classes, please call (760) 659-0109 or email [email protected].

 Citizenship Orientation

Attorney Maricela Amezola will be presenting an overview of citizenship and requirements for naturalization during class on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 6:00 PM via zoom and Facebook Live on Universidad Popular page. 

Volunteers Needed to Tutor Citizenship Students

We welcome volunteers who are interested in helping our students to practice the civics questions in Spanish and support English language development for students who will need to do their interviews in English. If you are interested in tutoring and teaching in small study groups, please email us at [email protected].

Congratulations to New Citizens & Graduates of Universidad Popular!

Food Justice

According to Feeding San Diego, over 400,000 individuals, including more than 160,000 children, lack enough food to eat at home. Many of them cannot make ends meet and are forced to go without food for several meals, days or extended periods of time. 

This critical issue is impacting adults and children in our community. Because there is enough food to feed everyone, Universidad Popular supports efforts that increase access to healthy food for all people in our community. 

We volunteer with Feeding San Diego to distribute food in Pauma Valley every first and third Tuesday of the month at 12 PM in the parking lot in front of the Pauma community clinic. 

We also volunteer at the food distribution with San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council and the Palomar Faculty Federation to be held on March 20 and April 17, 2021 from 9-10:30 AM at Palomar College.  

If you can, please make a donation to Feeding San Diego here.

Community Resources:

  • San Diego County residents financially impacted by COVID-19 who need help paying their rent and utilities may qualify for assistance. Applications for the County of San Diego’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) 2021 can be submitted starting March 2, 2021.The County’s ERAP 2021 serves all areas of the San Diego region except for the cities of San Diego and Chula Vista. 
  • The County of San Diego is now vaccinating people who live or work in San Diego County AND are 65 years and older OR frontline essential workers at risk of exposure through their work in the following sectors: Emergency Services (including emergency operations workers, fire and law enforcement); Childcare and Education; and  Food and Agriculture.

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  • Lilian Serrano
    published this page in News 2021-03-05 17:26:23 -0800