These are photographs from our brainstorm of Opportunities & Obstacles for Cultural Bridging in Santa Cruz County.
C3 Meeting 1 2015-2016
What an incredible group of County leaders we have in C3 this year! We had a great kick off meeting for C3. It began with a few icebreakers that allowed members to get to know one another, and some reconnection about why we are all coming together to do this work.
- What are your hopes, dreams and/or visions for a more connected Santa Cruz County?
- Where do you currently see “pockets of greatness” – positive evidence of cultural bridging in Santa Cruz County?
- Where do you see opportunities for cultural bridging in Santa Cruz County?
- What are the main obstacles preventing cultural bridging in Santa Cruz County?
In small groups, we discussed what ideal cultural bridging looks like and pockets of greatness we already see in Santa Cruz County. Some artists in our groups illustrated these dreams. As a full group, we shared responses to map out a vision for cultural bridging together.
Small groups then discussed specific opportunities and obstacles for cultural bridging. Each group identified 3 opportunities written on blue paper and 3 obstacles written on yellow paper.
Alma and I sorted and grouped each topic into broad categories while members got to know each other better (please see this blog post that includes photographs of each grouping).
Everyone explored the opportunities and obstacles. Everyone thought about their own work professionally or personally in relation to these topics. Then members wrote their names and ideas on post it notes if they were working on or planning to work on any of these opportunities/obstacles this year.
Each member voted with green dots on the obstacle/opportunities they were most interested in exploring through C3. This will help us determine which topics and projects we will dive deeper into in the next two meetings. We’ll ask members who are working on projects relevant to those topics to present their work in the next two meetings. In those meetings we will all creatively brainstorm ways to strengthen that work. The following two meetings after that will plan the most engaging way to share our work and topics with the public at a 3rd Friday Festival at the MAH.
Alma, Ana, Nina and I are now sorting through all the amazing notes and topics. We’ll narrow it down to a few to focus on and reach out to members working on those topics.
We are excited to share those topics and projects with you soon, and dive deeper into creative brainstorming this November!
Thanks for a great first gathering,
For those of you that missed the last meeting, we certainly missed you and want to share what happened:
- We reflected on and celebrated the C3 connections we made together (you can see those connections in this ribbon web exercise we created). We shared stories, collaborations, new insights and ideas for the future cohort.
- We ate a delicious dinner from Ballesteros Catering Company.
- We shared the direction for next year’s C3 to focus on one topic to delve into deeply throughout the year instead of 4 topics. Everyone seemed to feel that this focused approach would allow members to investigate issues more thoroughly and more deeply expand collaborations.
- For those that missed the last meeting please help us by filling out this final survey here.
Thank you all for taking the time and energy to be part of C3. We learned so much from you.
We hope you all continue to connect with each other, and collaborate with one another to make your work and our community stronger.
Thank you so much for creating an inspiring year with us!
Tuesday May 5 2015 6-8PM
This meeting’s topic resonated strongly with us given the current events and the decades of oppression, exclusion and marginalization that continue to persist in our society. Geography & place are intricately intertwined with diversity & culture in our country and specifically in our county. At this meeting our C3 “sparks” shared their current work in creating spaces that are striving to be inclusive of many different kinds of people. Their work is already making space in Santa Cruz to build trust, understanding, empathy and communication across differences. At this meeting sparks shared their work and together we built a dream for a more inclusive future.
We kicked off the meeting with a geography exercise that encouraged participants to talk with their “neighbors” to physically situate themselves by where they lived in Santa Cruz County. We then asked participants to organize themselves by where they were born. Lastly, we asked members to place themselves by their family’s place of origin. People migrated across the atrium noticing differences and finding commonalities, particularly in that we were, at one point, all immigrants to Santa Cruz.
Sparks led short 5 minute presentations on their project and their dream for its future. Then, all members chose which project they would like to strengthen based on the interests and assets each individual could bring to the discussion. These were the groups:
FoodWhat with Doron Comerchero
FoodWhat is a youth empowerment and food justice organization using food and sustainable agriculture as the vehicle for teens countywide to grow and cultivate their power and resiliency. FoodWhat partners with low-income and struggling youth to grow, cook, eat, and distribute healthy sustainably raised food which leads to profound transformation and for youth to experience their own success. As FoodWhat has grown to serve young people countywide, we are seeking input and connections on our community-based approach to expansion in Watsonville. To get a visual on a day at FoodWhat, you can check out our photo stories here.
The Iceberg Model of Culture with Silvia Austerlic
Silvia will lead a discussion on Geography and Diversity making a critical distinction between the perspectives of the Global North and the Global South, and the need for innovative approaches to address current problems in ways that meet the needs, give voice, and activate the potential of all people. She will introduce what she calls portals to new ways of thinking, two intercultural visual thinking tools she developed and used personally and professionally to learn, heal and transform cultural identity (with focus on dignity of the whole self) and intercultural relationships (with focus on respect and appreciation for differences, and relationship of service). Using the iceberg model of culture, you’ll be invited to bring your project, program or organization to the table.We’ll brainstorm together how you could use these tools to bring forth deeper cultural awareness, sensitivity and wholeness in your life, work or organization.
Latino Engagement with Sandino Gomez
The Museum of Art and History strives to be a welcoming and inclusive space for all residents of Santa Cruz County to build a stronger, more connected community. In our county, 33% of residents identify as Hispanic/Latino. We developed a Latino Engagement Plan this year focused on engaging, collaborating and learning from our local Latino community. Our long term dream is for the MAH to be an inviting space for Latino residents, the percentage of Latino visitors matches the percentage of Latinos living in the City (19%), and MAH staff deepen their own cultural competency which informs MAH programs.
Chanticleer Park with Mariah Roberts
Learn about the history and future of Chanticleer Park, a 4.5 acre public space in the Heart of unincorporated Live Oak that County Supervisor John Leopold calls, “the County’s first DIY Park.” In a community full of barriers, ranging from socio-economic to organizational, this project exemplifies how community barriers can demand and foster creativity. See how neighbors have built and maintained an open and heavily used County Park, despite the County losing funds for the needed park during the 2011 fiscal crisis. How have the barriers of diverse socio-economics, historically non-existent urban planning, lack of County resources and dense population formed a unique Park, full of kids, dogs, art and bikes?
As Chanticleer Park enters a new phase; we invite you to be involved. We are launching an effort to build the County’s first Universally Designed playground at the Chanticleer site. What will it look like? Who will be involved? How can the process of designing and building a Playground-For-All offer an opportunity for a community to strengthen? How can our process invite participation for this next phase? Learn about Chanticleer Park Neighbor/Vecinos, Universal Design as an approach and specifically our community partner for the playground portion of the project.
Members brainstormed ideas to strengthen the dream and then each group built an artifact of the future for the Pop Up Museum that represented the dream out of cardboard, paper, pipe cleaners, tape and markers. Objects and their labels were presented to the whole group and can be viewed here.
At the end of the meeting each individual either made a commitment to strengthening this work or shared a commitment they had already followed through on. Throughout this year and particularly with these projects presented, we have seen how important collaboration is in bridging across difference, place, people and cultures.
C3: Meeting 4 Income Inequality and Economic Opportunity
Tuesday March 18 2015 6-8PM
Our C3 “Sparks” for this meeting are already doing incredible work to improve economic opportunities throughout the county. At this meeting they shared this work and their dreams for its future. Information about the sparks and their dreams can be found here.
Our interns and staff designed an icebreaker, The Privilege Walk, inspired by this activity. This required a lot of trust and openness amongst our members. It allowed everyone to see and imagine how access to opportunities in our society have drastic inequalities depending on who you are, where you come from, what you look like and circumstances that are often beyond your control. This helped frame further conversations this evening.
Sparks led short 5 minute presentations on their project and their dream for its future. Then, all members chose which project they would like to strengthen based on the interests and assets each individual could bring to the discussion.
Groups formed around each topic for a more in-depth workshop. Members first shared their interests in joining the group and then asked the presenter more questions about their project. Groups then brainstormed ideas to strengthen the dream. Wes Modes’ group took a different approach to this structure. His presentation and workshop focused on empowering other members to advance their own organization’s funding opportunities and brainstorming ways to do that. Each group then built an artifact of the future for our Pop Up Museum that was representative of that dream out of cardboard, paper, pipe cleaners, tape and markers in a mere fifteen minutes. Objects and labels were presented to the whole group and can be viewed here.
At the end of the meeting each individual either made a commitment to strengthening this work or shared a commitment they had already followed through on. It was inspiring to hear about the collaborations, connections and changes this group has already made in our short time together. We finished with a cheer and rally.
Our next meeting on Income Inequality and Economic Opportunity is March 10th 2015 6-8PM at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History!
Here are the projects we’ll be exploring at this meeting. Please click the links if you’d like to learn more about these projects prior to the meeting.
The Digital NEST with Jacob Martinez
The Digital NEST is a high-tech space located in the heart of Watsonville. Young people ages 12-24 from Santa Cruz County have access to computers, software, Wi-Fi, and other digital tools and classes. They master skills necessary to thrive in the high tech, globally connected world in which we all live. Digital NEST does not stop at “training” – we turn our members into technology consultants who provide technology support services to local businesses, fostering entrepreneurship and fueling community economic development. Currently many of our big companies do not recruit future talent locally. They look outside the county for this talent. Our vision is to have the Digital NEST be the first place they look for new talent and do this by having them invest in the youth. Learn more about the Digital NEST here.
The Homeless Services Center (HSC) with Maggie McKay
HSC practices effective solutions that create a pathway to housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Santa Cruz County. The HSC campus is a part of this path, providing a space for programming that moves individuals and families out of homelessness into stable housing. The campus and its entryway present challenges which heavily influence the public’s perception of homelessness. But, I see this challenge as an opportunity. My dream is to creatively transform the HSC space and empower the individuals experiencing homelessness in this process. I hope that by creating an entryway and campus that are dynamic and beautiful, that it will send a message that HSC is creating solutions as well as bringing dignity and hope to its participants. Learn more about the HSC here.
Youth Violence Prevention Through Youth Employment with Megan Joseph
“Nothing stops a bullet like a job” – Father Boyle
While overall crime and juvenile delinquency rates are down in our County, 2014 was the deadliest year on record in the City of Watsonville, and 60% of the victims were youth. For the past two years, over 200 stakeholders have engaged in county-wide planning process to address youth and gang violence from a holistic perspective that provides a balance of prevention, intervention and enforcement. Youth employment has emerged as a key strategy to violence prevention, providing youth with a positive way to build confidence, stay engaged, support their families and successfully transition into adulthood and careers. It has also emerged as a huge gap in our community, with only 31% of youth ages 16-19 employed, down from 50% in 2007. Our dream is to tear down the roadblocks to youth employment so that every youth who wants a job in our community, has a job. Learn more about Youth Violence Prevention here.
It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask with Wes Modes
Wes will lead a discussion on fundraising, sharing culture, crowdsourcing, and participatory economics. We’ll talk about your projects and brainstorm ways you can find funders and push past the discomfort of asking them for support.
Here are some links to possibly helpful readings:
- Heart to heart about fundraising, community and promotion
- Most fundraising advice on the internet sucks, we’ll talk about that.
Tuesday January 13, 2015 6-8PM
We have many C3 members working on incredible youth empowerment projects throughout the county. We could only choose five C3 members present on their projects, all whom are working on various aspects and forms of Youth Empowerment, with a range of age groups and are at different stages in their development. These members were “Sparks” to activate discussion, ideas, and connections with other C3 members to strengthen their Youth Empowerment work throughout the county.
Information about the sparks and their dreams can be found here.
Our youth interns designed and led the icebreaker activity, a playful game that reflected on members’ personal experiences as youth. Sparks then led short 5 minute presentations on their project and their dream for its future. Then, all members chose which project they would like to strengthen based on the interests and assets each individual could bring to the discussion.
Groups formed around each topic for a more in-depth workshop. Members first shared why they chose to participate in the group and their assets- the skills, knowledge and interests they could bring to the dream. Groups then brainstormed ideas to strengthen the dream. They then imagined what this dream looks like in the future, how it is empowering youth, what youth are saying and feeling as a result of these projects. Each group then built an artifact of the future for our Pop Up Museum that was representative of that dream out of cardboard, paper, pipe cleaners, tape and markers in a mere fifteen minutes. Objects and labels were presented to the whole group and can be viewed here.
At the end of the meeting each individual made a commitment to strengthening Youth Empowerment in Santa Cruz County. Commitments included continuing group discussions, connecting contacts, volunteering and learning more.
We’re in a community full of dynamic and innovative Youth Organizations. This meeting connected these leaders with each other and others, beginning conversations and connections that we hope will continue to grow and strengthen.
Our next meeting topic is Youth Empowerment on Tuesday January 13th 6-8PM.
Here are the projects we’ll be exploring at this meeting. Please click the links if you’d like to learn more about these projects prior to the meeting.
Santa Cruz County Children’s Network with Robyn McKeen
Through my work as a Community Organizer at United Way, I provide staff coordination for the Santa Cruz County Children’s Network, a County Board of Supervisor’s mandated body consisting of over 40 government agency, school district, and non-profit executives. The Network meets regularly to share information and coordinate countywide services for children, youth and families. This year the group assisted the Community Assessment Project in selecting a Community Goal to achieve by 2020 for youth: “Schools and communities will be safe, supportive and engaging places for children, youth and families”. My dream is to increase the impact this group of influential leaders makes in our community towards this goal. How can we harness the expertise and influence of this group to empower our county’s youth and families? Learn more about this project here.
Unicorn Maps for Rejects, Delinquents & Other Healers with Jessica Vargas
Unicorn Maps for Rejects, Delinquents, & Other Healers is a recovery enrichment center that serves transitional age youth and young adults in recovery from substance abuse. We facilitate meaningful community discussions that engage young people in their own power, examine and enrich recovery-based principles, and inspire spiritual investigation. Our dream is to be a financially sustained resource available to all young people in recovery as well as those who work in the field of addiction counseling, and to have a strong online presence and following. We hope to expand our services to include daylong workshops and weekend retreats. We need help structuring our business model and building a media platform, and wish to find a permanent location that will act as our headquarters. Learn more about this project here or follow our Instagram @unicorn_maps.
Subjects to Change (S2C) with Emily Hope Dobkin
Subjects to Change (S2C) is a program geared for teenagers who want to make a difference in Santa Cruz county by raising awareness of community issues through collaborative arts and cultural experiences. S2C consists of approximately 15 students from across the county who meet at the MAH every Thursday afternoon to talk community, create stuff, & change—both themselves, as a group, and the community. Coined as a group of chronic doodlers who dig music, embrace creativity of all kinds, and are determined to not only make Santa Cruz better, but want to get other teens involved—-my dream for this program is to engage as many teens from across the county to identify and describe the social issues they face through artistic collaborations and projects. Learn more about this project here.
KYTH-lpfm Radio with Ann Simonton
KYTH LP and youthradiosc.org is a 501 c (3) radio station, where youth, ages 12-25, will have an opportunity to express their creativity through art, poetry, music and news. Our job as adult mentors will be to offer ideas about groups whose stories aren’t heard and ideas for youth service. Media Watch will provide leadership, programming, radio production and fundraising training for our core organizing group. We need a home for antenna in Scotts Valley and a studio for our station near bus lines in Santa Cruz. KYTH-lpfm will provide youth a safe place to voice their concerns about vital issues that effect our present and their future. This station will offer commercial-free programming with the hope of community underwriting. Our dream is to be a voice that will network with all that is available for youth and children in our community. Radio can be that conduit. We also hope to host Pacifica programs, which no other station broadcasts locally, except for KZSC news, which runs one hour daily. Radio programming, live music, conducting interviews, organizing, fundraising will offer youth many unique skills that will benefit them throughout their lives. Learn more about this project here.
Beach Flats Community Center with Edgar Landeros
Info coming soon!
Tuesday November 11th 2014, 6-8PM
We had five C3 members present on their Creative Space projects already happening throughout Santa Cruz County. These members were “Sparks” to activate discussion, ideas, and connections to strengthen their work on the issue of activating Creative Spaces in our county.
Here are the sparks and their dreams:
Collaborative Dance Performance- Cid Pearlman Economies of Effort: 1 is an evening-length dance exploring the virtues of self-reliance and the creative impulse. Cid’s dream is to engage local audiences and workshop participants, spread the word, and find new partners for her work. Learn more about the project here, and check out Cid’s most recent collaborative dance project here.
Watsonville Film Festival- Consuelo Alba-Speyer We share films that inspire, entertain, educate and focus on issues relevant to the local community, as well as empower local youth to use film as a way to transform our world. My dream is to create a multicultural film festival that puts Watsonville on the map regionally, bridges the divide between South & North County and provides economic development opportunities for my community. We need help spreading the word, engaging local audiences, developing a financially sustainable program and collaborating on special projects. Learn more at our website here and the Arts Council’s Arts and Economic Prosperity Study here.
Creative Town Square- Marcus Frost The MAH is working to transform Abbott Square, the plaza outside the museum, into a vibrant community plaza. Our dream is to create a positive social dynamic in the plaza in partnership with diverse performers and artists. Learn more about the project here, and check out a project in Minnesota that inspires us here.
A Revitalized River- Laurie Egan The San Lorenzo River flows through the heart of Santa Cruz. Today, it has a negative reputation spanning from pollution control issues to disdain and neglect. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Laurie works to bring the Santa Cruz community to reconnect to this key river through her work at the Coastal Watershed Council and San Lorenzo River Alliance. Learn more about this exciting river revitalization project here.
Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium Renovation Leadership Team- Jim Brown The Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium has been a place where our community has gathered to play, commemorate, and be entertained since it was built as a WPA project in 1939. The Civic Leadership Team seeks to support the design, planning, and financing of a renovation of the Civic as a performing arts and cultural center and to catalyze community enthusiasm for the project.
After each presentation, members chose which project they would like to strengthen based on the interests and assets each individual could bring to the discussion.
Groups formed around each topic for a more in-depth workshop. Members first shared their assets- the skills, knowledge and interests they could bring to the dream. Groups then brainstormed ideas based on their assets that could strengthen the dream. They then imagined, fifty years from now, what does that dream look like, who is part of it, how has it changed? Each group then built an artifact of the future for our Pop Up Museum that was representative of that dream out of cardboard, paper, tape and markers in a mere fifteen minutes. Objects and labels were presented to the whole group and can be viewed here.
At the end of the meeting each individual made a commitment to strengthening creative spaces in Santa Cruz County. Commitments included continuing group discussions, connecting contacts, volunteering and learning more.
We left inspired, motivated, more connected. We’re eager to see what evolves from these discussions.