THE SAN DIEGO PARTICIPANT OBSERVER Participant Observation is the Process of Learning by Observing and Participating in Cultural Life
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The San Diego Participant Observer

The City of San Diego is home to one of the most vital and culturally diverse populations to be found anywhere in America. The Participant Observer is a web magazine dedicated to discovering and showcasing the wide variety of culturally interesting events, people, places, and organizations our city has to offer. Our continuously updated Events Calendar provides comprehensive information about current and forthcoming events in San Diego. In addition to covering local events, The Participant Observer publishes features and articles about cultural events and phenomena happening around the world. We urge you to explore the many other resources our site provides.

Also on this Site...
San Diego's immigrant population has been greatly affected by constant changes to immigration policy under the Trump Administration and, more recently, by the COVID-19 pandemic. Two local non-profit organizations focused on immigration-related services that have maintained their steadfast support for this community, despite immense challenges, are Casa Cornelia Law Center and Survivors of Torture, International.

By Ian A. Lutz (
(Read: 264 times)

(View Social Justice Resources by Category)

Hello San Diego!

Welcome to the August edition of the San Diego Participant Observer Newsletter.  In our online magazine we are excited to publish a new original in-depth article, Two Local Orgs Deliver for Immigrants During Pandemic. We also have a recipe for the "King of Breakfasts", Bagels and Lox, the Full Schmear.  Our Book of the Month is the hugely popular in South Korea and social change-inspiring Kim Ji-Young, Born in 1982. And our World Music CD of the Month is The Mande Variations by the kora master, Toumani Diabaté.

Virtual Experiences and Things to Do

  • Gimmie Shelter (Playing for Change) As we all continue to shelter in place, sit back and enjoy an international collection of wonderful artists performing the Rolling Stones Gimmie Shelter.
  • Friday (today) the film Canción sin Nombre (Song Without a Name) will be available for online viewing. Courtesy of the Media Arts Center.

  • Friday, August 7 - 7:00 PM Hooshyar Afsar, one of the founders of the Racism Awareness Project, will lead a chat about Black Lives Matter and the Iranian-American Community (Courtesy of the Persian-American Center)
  • Friday, August 7 - 7:00 PM Sierra Club: Hunting & Gathering - Shared Beginnings Cindy Stankowski, Executive Director of the San Diego Archaeological Center, will discuss the history and cultures of Hunters & Gatherers. Sponsored by the Sierra Club
  • Tuesday, August 10 - 5:00 PM Maya Hu-Chan, author of Saving Face: How to Preserve Dignity and Build Trust, will deliver an E-Talk explaining how we as diplomats and global leaders can honor face to build trust. Courtesy of the SD Diplomacy Council.
  • Wednesday, August 12 - 3:30 PM Black & Womxn: Working in America Join UN Women USA NY for a deeply needed dialogue to explore the inherent racism of systems in our own community, nation and the world, and the specific experience of racism in all aspects of being Black and womxn in America.
  • Wednesday, August 26 - 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM Online Origami Classes for ages 10 to 12. From KidsToPros. Use "show filters" to find the class.
  • Wednesday, September 2 - 4:00 PM Christina Baker Kline will discuss her new book The Exiles with best-selling author Kristin Hannah in the Warwick's online ticketed event.
  • Friday, September 4 - 7:00 PM La Rumorosa Rock Art Along the Border a Facebook Live presentation sponsored by the Sierra Club
  • Every Monday at 5:00 PM you can join the Italian Cultural Center's Facebook Live session for a few minutes, exploring favorite Italian words emerging from books, dictionaries, and memory.
  • Every Thursday - 7:30 PM Peter Sprague Weekly Livestream Concert kick back and spend an evening listening to Peter and his remarkably talented friends play multi-genre music. (Note: the link takes you to Peter's Facebook page where you can find updates and announcements about the concerts).
  • Every Friday - 6:00 PM Old Globe's "Word Up" Join Arts Engagement Programs Manager and host Laura Zablit who will be joined by some of San Diego’s incredible performing artists. Together they will create opportunities for viewers to learn from and participate in their art form, creating accessible art in real time!
  • The San Diego Diplomacy Council - Will be partnering with the Worldview Project in October on a Zoom session with the author of the book selected by One Book-One San Diego. (Selection to be announced August 29th.)
  • Dining al Fresco in San Diego List of 30 San Diego restaurants that have international cuisine and outdoor dining abiding by social distance rules. Remember staying at home is your safest option, but if you must venture forth . . . be careful!

    Updates on Local Cross-Cultural Organizations

    Due to the pandemic, many local cross-cultural non-profits are finding new ways to fulfill their missions (including us!), have reduced activity or are focusing on new ways to provide the services they specialize in. Here's an update on several organizations' activities and new initiatives.
  • Donate to Aja Project. The Parker Foundation has pledged to match any donations to the AjA Project; each donation will be matched 1:1 up to $5000 until August 31st.
  • If you are you a low-income resident of San Diego and you are currently unable to pay your SDGE gas and/or electric bill because of COVID-19 the African Alliance is currently offering financial assistance (up to a 40 dollar one-time payment), towards your SDGE bill. Call (619) 286-9052 ext.: 247 to learn more. Also their thrift store at 2875 El Cajon Blvd is currently open 7 days a week with somewhat reduced hours.
  • Podcast An interview with the Jose Angel Cruz, new CEO of the Barrio Logan College Institute, discusses his top priorities to support the Institute’s mission to break the cycle of poverty by preparing underserved students to be the first in their families to go to college
  • A Donation to the The International Rescue Committee will help them in their efforts to provide coronavirus preparedness and response programs in over 40 countries.
  • COVID-19 Resources and Facts Sheets in several languages. Courtesy of PANA (Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans)
  • The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is tentatively scheduled to re-open in October, presumably depending on pandemic conditions.
  • The Center for World Music is developing a series of concerts with live Q&As with performing artists"stay tuned for updates!
  • Film: Figlia Mia (Daughter of Mine) will be screened online by the Italian Film Festival starting on August 20th.
  • Ssubi is Hope is looking for a 20’ - 28’ enclosed cargo trailer to haul humanitarian supplies and equipment within the U.S. If you have one, contact them here
  • Weekly World News Update Courtesy of the San Diego World Affairs Council.
  • Border Angels has quite a few updates on it ongoing programs. If you click the link you can sign up to their newsletter.
  • John Lewis Reading List by the San Diego Public Library
  • Vicki Casper, San Diego World Vision Child Ambassador, reports that in the places where World Vision serves, pandemic conditions have led to increased violence against women and children, growing child slavery and more poverty. You can help by sponsoring a child and ensuring desperately needed nutritional, health and psychological services can meet the needs of these vulnerable people. She says that the progress that World Vision has made in the past 30 years in providing such services is threatened and children are falling back into the danger zone between life and death. She asks that you help out by sponsoring a child today. Find out more here.
  • Cultural Homestays International's Volunteer Program We (the Worldview Project) have been working with CHI since 2016, and, by providing high quality international college-aged volunteers and interns, they have been a very large part of our success. The Virtual Step Program is 4-week program (new session begin every month). Every type of business is welcome to participate in the program and volunteers can assist with any task that can be done with a computer including, data entry, bulk email campaigns, social media, translations, marketing, surveys, graphic design, or just about anything else you can imagine. To learn more click here: Virtual Step Flyer (pdf flyer download)
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    Your Window to the World
    All Articles: Guardian News & Media Ltd 2013-19, New York Times Inc.
    Please note: The New York Times allows non-subscribers to read five articles a month for free.
    (Read: 48 times)

    Juneteenth, a holiday that commemorates the freeing of slaves in America, has been celebrated by Black Americans since news of emancipation reached the last slaves to be freed in Galveston, Texas in 1865. Despite the holiday's historic importance, it has never been widely recognized in the U.S. However, that appears to be changing, as calls to recognize Juneteenth on a larger scale have emerged against the backdrop of the murder of George Floyd.

    By Ian A. Lutz
    (Read: 582 times)

    Less than one half of all Americans have a passport. People without passports not only can't go to far away places like Asia, Africa, Europe or South America, without a passport you can't even travel to Mexico or Canada. An important step in becoming a global citizen is actually getting out there and experiencing other cultures first hand. Don't limit your options! Passports don't expire for 10 years, think ahead and apply for or renew yours today! The steps to apply for a passport are not as daunting as they may seem. Whether you are looking to apply for a new passport or to renew your current passport, follow the steps in our handy guide!

    Compiled by Julie Tran
    (Read: 5896 times)

    The Center for World Music is a unique nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster awareness and understanding of the world's diverse performing arts and cultures through public performances and teaching. Its primary purpose is to draw public attention to the diversity of the world's performing arts traditions: Asian, African, European, Latin American, and American.

    (Read: 20415 times)

    Today San Diego's Little Italy is a bustling commercial, dining and entertainment district. But more than a half century ago, it was a largely residential area populated by Italian families, most of which were involved in San Diego's thriving tuna industry. Over the next few decades, Little Italy became a self-contained neighborhood with its own grocery stores, bakeries, restaurants, a Catholic church, an elementary school, a drugstore, and a fire department. Then a half century ago the community was cut in half by the expansion of San Diego's freeway system, devastating a once thriving community. Read about Little Italy's rich past and about local efforts to preserve the neighborhood's unique ethnic character and identity.

    By Tony Rocco
    (Read: 10022 times)

    A stone's throw from the Gaslamp Quarter, on the corner of 3rd Avenue and J Street, lies the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum. The museum offers San Diegans an artifactual, pictorial and interactive look into the history of San Diego's Chinese-American inhabitants. Admission is an affordable $2. The museum features numerous cultural, historical and artistic displays as well as regularly held educational programs for children and adults. For a small extra fee the museum also offers docent-lead tours of the permanent collection and featured exhibits as well as tours of the remnants of San Diego's former Chinatown.

    (Read: 10472 times)

    Kourosh Taghavi, instrumentalist, vocalist and Persian classical musician boasts a passionate approach to music that has impacted audiences around the world. His collaborative projects with master musicians and local cultural organizations work to fulfill his lifelong dream to promote Persian classical music. More recently, his ongoing efforts with the Center for World Music bring the setar and Iranian culture to San Diego school districts through hands-on instruction in Persian classical music.

    By Amanda Kelly
    (Read: 11225 times)

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