¡Felices Fiestas y Feliz Año Nuevo!
This is a moment of closure and new beginnings. Above all, it is a time for celebration of life, family and culture. We are thankful for your friendship, partnership and collaboration throughout 2022 and invite you to accompany us as we expand our horizons and embark on new learning and teaching opportunities in 2023.
Our work is interwoven into family and community life. In the spirit of our elders’ storytelling tradition, we wish to share with you a few stories and many photos that emerged from our journey. Many family members, friends, and neighbors answered the call to service and joined us at COVID-19 vaccine clinics, food distributions, ciudadanía classes, civic engagement events and cultural celebrations to ensure that community members received life-saving services.
We welcome 2023, a year of rejuvenation and growth, and look forward to continue serving our community - addressing COVID-19 pandemic’s impact, preparing for disasters and emergencies, accessing healthy food, increasing civic participation, assisting new citizens, and advancing environmental and economic justice - all while embracing our gente and honoring our cultural celebrations.
Below are a few stories from our work in 2022.Read more
Signs of great progress made in our fight against COVID-19 are evident in the hustle and the bustle of everyday activity around us. However, community members who live and work in the hardest hit neighborhoods remain weary and on high alert. They have been disproportionately disadvantaged due to their socio-economic status and many fear getting and spreading COVID-19 to their loved ones. They comprise a large sector of the essential and frontline workforce, live in larger extended family units, are the least uninsured or underinsured, have the lowest levels of workplace protections and already suffered the greatest loss of life due to COVID-19. For these reasons and many more, Universidad Popular remains vigilant and immersed in the strategic COVID-19 response. We are providing direct services to community members and advocating for equitable recovery from the pandemic.Read more
Today, the Universidad Popular team had the opportunity to experience the “Street Legacy: SoCal Style Masters” at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. As community educators we understand the importance that the arts have in shedding light on all experiences in our communities and sparking needed dialogue. Street Legacy brings to light valuable diverse perspectives and experiences. While the exhibition contains mature themes and imagery, we appreciate and welcome the space it opens and the opportunity it provides to engage in meaningful dialogue that is timely and necessary.
This is even more important in light of the ensuing controversy over specific works and the mounting political pressure to censor artistic expression. Neither does the Escondido Mayor nor does the Chief of the Escondido Police Department or anyone else have the authority to cancel our constitutional rights and freedoms. We share your unconditional belief in the right of every person to participate in the artistic process and to express their thoughts and ideas freely without fear of persecution. We oppose the singling out of any specific artist or work of art and any censorship attempts.
We commend the trustees and advisors of the California Center for the Arts, the artists, the curators and patrons for exhibiting art that is representative of our local and regional community. Thank you for elevating, educating, and inspiring us to appreciate diversity of thought, experience and expression.
Read the letter that our Co-Founder & Co-Director shared with the California Center for the Arts, Escondido this morning for consideration during their special meeting.Read more
Universidad Popular returns with this project to strengthen community leaders, promotores, and community educators in order to cultivate community education and leadership. In this workshop, we will share knowledge about the role, core values, and basic tools of community leaders
For Spanish click here.
On Tuesday December 14, 2021, the County of San Diego Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) adopted the new supervisorial districts map. We are proud to report that the IRC heard our voices and our Latinx community of interest was kept together in a North County district (D5).
The 2021 County of San Diego redistricting process provided us a unique opportunity to learn about county government, to be civically involved and to experience democracy in action. Along with thousands of community members, Universidad Popular stood in front of the County of San Diego IRC, submitted written comments, and called-in to share stories about the places that matter to us, our families, and our neighbors and the values that glue our communities together. We traveled from Fallbrook, Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Escondido, Valley Center, Pauma, Pala, and other North County neighborhoods to participate in every in-person meeting held across the county.Read more
Message from our Co-Director Arcela Nuñez:
It is a fact rarely acknowledged in public discourse that Whites have controlled power within the San Diego County Board of Supervisors since the body was founded in 1850 and the residents and communities they represent have enjoyed the full privileges afforded under representative democracy. This officially nonpartisan body, as required by the Constitution of California, was nonetheless dominated by Republicans until 2020 when Democrats took the majority of the seats.
Although this partisan transfer of power signaled a political shift in county politics and government, racial/ethnic underrepresentation persists and is a major issue of equity. Nora Vargas’s electoral victory last year as the first Latina Supervisor is monumental. Mexicans have lived in San Diego County since before it became part of the United States and Latinxs make up 1.1 million people, the largest non-White group living in the county. Despite the large population, Latinxs have had zero representation in county government for almost 170 years. Supervisor Vargas overcame the status quo and the institutionalized practice of gerrymandering that has diluted the power of Mexican/Latinx voters. She broke through a brick wall forging a new pathway for increasing Latinx representation on the County Board of Supervisors and other elected positions for generations to come.
We are amid a dramatic demographic transformation in San Diego County with people of color increasing in numbers across the county. Latinxs account for 30 percent of the total population in the county and in cities such as Escondido they have been the majority of the population since 2010. However, numbers alone do not automatically translate into political influence. As a community of interest, Latinxs continue to face gross political underrepresentation at every level of government.
Universidad Popular has played an unprecedented, unique, and life-saving role in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic that disproportionately impacted Latinxs, immigrants, limited English speakers, women and working-class families who are overrepresented in essential and frontline economic sectors in San Diego County. Leveraging organizational expertise of legal and political systems and structures, experience navigating government agencies and policies and extensive network across sectors made it possible to organize and coordinate collaborations and partnerships to create a rapid outreach, education, and vaccination response system that has reached nearly 20,000 community members across North County.
For the past ten months Universidad Popular has been busy ensuring every community member in our region who wants a COVID-19 vaccine has access to it. We have been leading advocacy efforts with elected and county officials to bring resources into our North County region, conducting community education with our family, friends and neighbors in the hardest hit neighborhoods to empower community members to receive the life-saving vaccine, and co-hosting over one hundred vaccination events across North County and in targeted communities such as San Marcos, Escondido and Pauma Valley.
This work is done in collaboration with our partners including Cal Fire Operation Collaboration, Neighborhood Health, TruCare, MACC Project, The Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos, San Marcos Unified School District, the City of San Marcos, the City of Escondido, Escondido Elementary School District, Escondido World Marketplace, Pauma Valley Community Center, Alianza Comunitaria, San Ysidro Health, South Bay Community Services, and San Diego County Health and Human Services.Read more
¡Felicidades to our Co-Director, Maria Nuñez, for being recognized as the 2021 Attorney of the Year by the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association!. She will be honored at this year’s SDLRLA Scholarship Fund Annual Gala in the company of hundreds of esteemed judges, attorneys, elected city, state and federal officials, and community leaders on November 30, 2021, at The Guild Hotel in downtown San Diego.
Maria is among the strongest leaders in the Latinx community advancing equity and social justice. We are proud of her for all her accomplishments but most of all for her compassion, leadership, and unrelenting advocacy on behalf of our community!
We are still in a pandemic and many of our family members, friends, and neighbors have not had equitable access to vaccines against COVID-19.
So far, 72.7% of San Diego County residents have received at least one dose and 56.1% are fully vaccinated. However, hard to reach communities (Latinx, immigrant, Spanish-speaking with lower access to technology) who live in select neighborhoods in Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos and Escondido, have vaccination rates under 50%.
Universidad Popular in collaboration with Cal Fire Operation Collaboration, San Diego County, San Marcos Unified School District and Escondido World Marketplace is co-hosting these up-coming vaccination clinics:
|Saturday||July 10||9am - 2pm||San Marcos Elementary||1 Tiger Way
San Marcos, CA 92069
|Sunday||July 11||8am - 3pm||Escondido Worldmarket Place||635 W. Mission Ave
Escondido, CA 92025
|Saturday||July 30||9am - 2pm||San Marcos Elementary||1 Tiger Way
San Marcos, CA 92069
Join Universidad Popular for a virtual discussion with San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan and learn about the role of the San Diego County District Attorney's Office and its impact on our everyday lives.