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.

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Hello San Diego!

Welcome to the October Issue of the San Diego Participant Observer!

BOOK CLUB RECAP: For the past several years the Worldview Project Book Club has been a participant in the One Book - One San Diego partnership between KPBS and over 80 public libraries, service organizations and educational institutions. Every year our book club, under the extraordinary leadership of the club's leader, Sharon Payne, holds a special event to honor and discuss the selected book.

This year we were honored to partner with the San Diego Diplomacy Council, an organization we have co-organized literary events several times in the past. This year, the OBOS selection was They Called Us Enemy by George Takei.

Mr. Takei was only scheduled to spend 15 minutes answering our questions, but he remained on the Zoom session for over an hour! He talked about his family's personal experiences during WWII when they and 120,000 other Japanese Americans living on the West Coast were incarcerated for the length of the war in concentration camps. The overwhelming number were US citizens (60%), and this mass incarceration was done without any sort of due-process or rational cause.

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which included a full apology stating that Japanese American Citizens had suffered "a grave injustice" and that decisions made by the government had been based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership". The act also ordered reparations to the individuals who had been unjustly incarcerated.

Takei also discussed the distressing racial enmity being witnessed in America today. Mr. Takei's discussion of this history was poignant, reflective and extremely fair-minded; he avoided demonizing anyone but instead focused on the tremendous importance of safeguarding democratic ideals, fighting against injustice and prejudice, and the extreme importance of due process even during the most difficult of times.

City College professor, Susan Hasegawa rounded out the evening’s discussion by explaining how this mass incarceration affected Japanese Americans that lived here in San Diego and the long-term effects on housing, property and business ownership and employment. It was a remarkable evening. Over 100 people attended the Zoom event, and we thank all of you for attending!


Around Town and Live in the Virtual World

Friday, October 9

From Friday to Sunday, The San Diego Italian Film Festival with screen the film Bangla, a witty Italian cross-cultural rom-com set in Rome’s multiethnic Torpignattara neighborhood. Sunday at 11:00 AM there will be a live online Q&A with the movie's screenwriter Vanessa Picciarelli.

12:00 PM - The History of Chicano Park will be the topic of a discussion with Martin D. Rosen of the San Diego Archaeology Center. Learn about the history of the fabulous murals in the park and what role they played in the California Chicano civil rights movement.

6:00 PM - Culture in the Age of Covid Presentation will be a walk-through of steps Kristian has done to continue and pivot his cultural work.

6:00 PM - Journey webinar from the AJA Project. Journey participants use their photography skills to address themes such as identity, resettlement, migration, home, culture, community, advocacy and "artivism".

Saturday, October 10

4:30 PM - Trio Gadjo and Besos de Coco perform Saturdays at Bird Park. Social distancing and masks are an absolute must! Bring your own dance partner and instruments.

7:15 PM - Get Out to Vote Concert with Sharon Katz and The Peace Train! The concert will be streamed live from a studio in TJ. Sharon says it's perfectly fine to sing along at home!

Sunday, October 11

6:00 PM - Mehregan Fall Fete - Join the Persian Cultural Center of San Diego and the San Diego Museum of Art to celebrate Mehregan (Persian Autumn Festival) with a free concert by the Damsaz Ensemble.

Wednesday, October 14

7:00 PM - Kristina Wong for Public Office: Live from Her Home. Performance artist, comedian, and elected representative Wong brings her raucous campaign rally online to arouse civic engagement.

Thursday, October 15

ALL DAY The Re-Imagined 2020 San Diego International Film Festival begins and will continue through to October 18.

4:00 PM - The San Diego Children's Discovery Museum will host an online Japanese Roots Event celebrating the culture of Japan

5:00 PM - The Japanese Friendship Garden presents Japanese Tea with Takahiro Okabe is a virtual workshop on the art of making Japanese ceremonial tea and all the cultural aspects.

7:00 PM - Bill Caballero's Homey Jammmm outdoor jam session at Chula Vista Golf Course. Repeats every Thursday

Saturday, October 17

10:00 AM - Join the Chinese Historical Museum and the SDSU Chinese Cultural Center for the webinar Ripples in Time: The Courage and Resilience of Early Chinese Pioneers with guest speaker Russel Low.

Friday, October 23

ALL DAY - The 21st Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival begins and continues until the end of the month.

ALL DAY - The 3-day Joyce Forum Jewish Short Film Festival gets underway and will feature 31 short films by Jewish filmmakers or about Jewish experience around the world.
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The Chicano Federation was founded in 1969 and provides a wide ranges of social, economic and educational services to people of many ethnicities in San Diego. Covid-19 has had a much greater affect on Latinos here in San Diego, forcing the Chicano Federation to adapt to the new realities caused by the pandemic. The leaders of the organization believe they have a sustaining strategy to continue to meet the needs of the people it serves during the pandemic as well as addressing some of its long-term effects.

By Ian A. Lutz (
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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 (
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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
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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
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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.

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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
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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.

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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: 11883 times)

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