Real-life superheroes help San Diego homeless!

Visitor to San Diego Comic-Con takes a photo with The Nyght, patrol leader of the Xtreme Justice League, a group of real superheroes in San Diego.
Visitor to San Diego Comic-Con takes a photo with The Nyght, patrol leader of the Xtreme Justice League, a group of real superheroes in San Diego.

Today I was walking around outside San Diego Comic-Con when I met a real-life superhero. His name is The Nyght. He’s a member of the Xtreme Justice League.

The Xtreme Justice League began in San Diego, but now has superheroes operating around the country. Their primary mission is to help local communities stay safe.

These volunteer superheroes, wearing outlandish protective garb, are highly trained for what they do. They conduct safety patrols in rough neighborhoods and offer a variety of public safety services. They report dangerous activity that they observe to law enforcement. They strive to provide positive role models for at-risk youth. They oppose vigilantism–they believe in compassion, nonviolence, volunteerism and heroism.

They also work to help the homeless.

Tomorrow–Saturday July 21, 2018–members of Xtreme Justice League from all around the country will converge in Balboa Park’s Pepper Grove to help San Diego’s homeless. Their event is from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm. If you’d like to help them out, they accept donations of items such as individual tissue packs, socks, sunglasses, water bottles, sunscreen and sleeping bags.

You can learn more about who the Xtreme Justice League is, and what they do by visiting their website here!

The Xtreme Justice League works to increase community safety. They encourage residents to become involved in helping the homeless and reducing crime.
The Xtreme Justice League works to increase community safety. They encourage residents to become involved in helping the homeless and reducing crime. Be your own hero!
The Nyght tells me a little about the Xtreme Justice League, and how they and their members from around the country will help the homeless this Saturday in Balboa Park.
The Nyght tells me a little about the Xtreme Justice League, and how they and their members from around the country will help the homeless this Saturday in Balboa Park.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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8 Ways to Fight Human Trafficking in San Diego.

Rachel Thompson of the Junior League San Diego introduces District Attorney Summer Stephan during the Fifth Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Rally.
Rachel Thompson of the Junior League San Diego introduces District Attorney Summer Stephan during the Fifth Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Rally.

Today I walked up to Balboa Park to experience the 5th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Rally. The event was organized by the Junior League of San Diego, and brought together most of the key players in San Diego’s fight against human trafficking.

While legislative progress has been made in the fight, the terrible problem of human trafficking persists. I learned San Diego sees far too much of this type of crime because of our city’s proximity to the Mexican border and its status as a popular tourist destination.

Many tables were set up at the event containing literature about how concerned citizens can take action. Everyone was encouraged to spread the word and increase awareness and involvement throughout the community.

I thought my blog could possibly provide a bit of help. Here are eight things that you can do to learn about and fight against human trafficking in San Diego:

1. Learn how to recognize victims of human trafficking. The following three photos contain vital information that you can use and share.

A flyer from the Office for Victims of Crime provides key information on human trafficking, including warning signs. (Please click this image to enlarge for easy reading.)
A flyer from the Office for Victims of Crime provides key information on human trafficking, including warning signs. (Please click this image to enlarge for easy reading.)
Information from Homeland Security's Blue Campaign explains the difference between human trafficking and human smuggling.
Information from Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign explains the difference between human trafficking and human smuggling.
A checklist of human trafficking indicators. To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.
A checklist of human trafficking indicators. To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.

2. Support the Alabaster Jar Project. This organization empowers survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. They provide a safe living environment and transitional housing, plus an array of support services and educational opportunities. Located in San Diego’s North County.

3. Become involved with CAT, or Churches Against Trafficking, a network of churches in San Diego that together provide service, resources and prayer to help solve a difficult problem in our community.

Churches Against Trafficking is a network of churches that provide service, resources and prayer in San Diego against human trafficking.
Churches Against Trafficking is a network of churches that have joined together to provide service, resources and prayer in San Diego against human trafficking.

4. Support the Lynch Foundation For Children. They are working to prevent human trafficking through education. They also assist in locating and recovering runaway children, and support victims’ services.

5. Learn about and possibly volunteer with the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition (BSCC), an alliance of government and nonprofit agencies in the United States and Latin America convened along the U.S.-Mexico Border Region to combat slavery and human trafficking. Their 24-hour Emergency Trafficking Hotline is 619-666-2757. The hotline serves victims of trafficking, community clinics and doctors, social service agencies, concerned citizens and law enforcement personnel.

6. Visit the Sex Trafficking Resource Center page of the San Diego Public Library website and learn more facts about this difficult but very important subject. The web page includes a variety of resources, including helpful links specifically for youth.

7. Visit the San Diego District Attorney’s human trafficking online page. It’s a resource that contains a good deal of vital information, including Signs of Human Trafficking, What You Can Do, Community Resources and Safety Tips.

The FBI had literature available concerning human trafficking. The phone number for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center is 1-888-373-7888.
During the event, the FBI offered literature concerning human trafficking. The phone number for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center is 1-888-373-7888.
Can you see her? It's time to open our eyes. Victims of the sex trade, domestic servitude, and forced labor have been invisible, until now.
Can you see her? It’s time to open our eyes. Victims of the sex trade, domestic servitude, and forced labor have been invisible, until now.

8. Check out these other local shelters and organizations. They need mentors, volunteers and resources:

Children of the Immaculate Heart

Generate Hope

Mary’s Guest House

North County Lifeline

PLNU Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund

Shining Stars

Salvation Army’s Door of Hope

San Diego Youth Services

These citizens are working to stop human trafficking. Will you join them?
These citizens are working to stop human trafficking. Will you join them?

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Art captures memories of San Quentin inmates.

Spaces from Yesterday is a collaborative exhibition at the SDSU Downtown Gallery featuring the art projects of three San Quentin inmates.
Spaces from Yesterday is a collaborative exhibition at the SDSU Downtown Gallery featuring the art projects of three San Quentin inmates. (Click image to enlarge for easier reading.)

There’s a fascinating exhibition right now at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. It’s titled Spaces from Yesterday and features the artwork of three San Quentin inmates.

The artwork was created in collaboration with San Quentin State Prison art teacher Amy M. Ho, who also has a few related pieces in the exhibition. But the work that I found most interesting came directly from the hands of the inmates.

All three of the artists summon happy memories from their childhood. These images are warm, but also hard-edged and unpeopled. One work, The Hallway by Dennis Crookes, almost looks like a long, harsh, narrow prison hallway that finally leads to a home’s light-filled kitchen.

I could find no explanation why these three were incarcerated in the San Quentin correctional complex, which contains California’s only death row for male inmates. That would seem to be an essential part of the story, and might explain certain qualities of the art. But the anecdotes that are written do reveal a common yearning for a past life that is fondly remembered.

The following photos show a description of each piece, followed by the actual artwork.

Spaces from Yesterday will be on display through January 28, 2018. Those interested in art, creativity, and often hidden aspects of human life should check it out. Admission to the SDSU Downtown Gallery is free.

Prison art teacher Amy M. Ho and Dennis Crookes began planning The Hallway collaboration while Crookes was incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison.
Prison art teacher Amy M. Ho and Dennis Crookes began planning The Hallway collaboration while Crookes was incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison.
The Hallway, Dennis Crookes, acrylic on canvas, 2016.
The Hallway, Dennis Crookes, acrylic on canvas, 2016.
The Garage, a collaboration with inmate Bobby Dean Evans, Jr., contains warm memories from a playful childhood.
The Garage, a collaboration with inmate Bobby Dean Evans, Jr., contains warm memories from a playful childhood.
The Garage, Bobby Dean Evans, Jr., mixed media on cardboard, 2016.
The Garage, Bobby Dean Evans, Jr., mixed media on cardboard, 2016.
Chanthon Bun painted memories from a childhood that included a play fort in an abandoned lot, comic books, baseball cards and a fish pond he created with his siblings and young relatives.
Chanthon Bun painted memories from a childhood that included a play fort in an abandoned lot, comic books, baseball cards and a fish pond he created with his siblings and young relatives.
The Last Summer, Chanthon Bun, acrylic on canvas, 2017.
The Last Summer, Chanthon Bun, acrylic on canvas, 2017.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

To read a few stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

Photos outside beautiful new downtown courthouse.

Gazing up from Union Street at the unique new Superior Court building in downtown San Diego.
Gazing up from Union Street at the unique new Superior Court building in downtown San Diego.

Yesterday I walked past our beautiful new downtown courthouse. The opening of the high tech half billion dollar San Diego Central Courthouse has faced several delays, but the very unique exterior has already added more character to San Diego’s gleaming skyline.

Here are some photos. The rooftop canopy is rather unusual, as you can see. The crystal-like lattice of geometric reflections and shadows that it produces delights the eye.

The new San Diego Central Courthouse is nearly completed. It stands north across the C Street trolley tracks from the Hall of Justice.
The new San Diego Central Courthouse is nearly completed. It stands north across the C Street trolley tracks from the Hall of Justice. A pedestrian bridge connects both buildings.
Flags in a pleasant breeze. The new courthouse, most expensive in California, has faced various construction delays.
Flags in a pleasant breeze. The new courthouse, most expensive in California, has faced various construction delays.
This Superior Courthouse of California is across Union Street from the old courthouse, which will be torn down.
This new Superior Court of California building is across Union Street from the old, less-functional courthouse, which will be torn down.
Fascinating reflections and shadows on glass windows beneath a projecting rooftop canopy.
Fascinating reflections and shadows on glass windows beneath a projecting rooftop canopy.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Flowers remember, honor fallen peace officers.

Roses for the fallen at San Diego's Regional Law Enforcement Memorial.
Flowers for the fallen at San Diego’s Regional Law Enforcement Memorial.

Yesterday the 33rd Annual San Diego County Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial ceremony was held at the Regional Law Enforcement Memorial, which stands eternally in San Diego’s beautiful Waterfront Park, in front of the County Administration Building.

During the solemn ceremony, fallen San Diego County peace officers were remembered, and honored.

The day after the ceremony flowers remain scattered by the names of heroes who sacrificed everything for you and me.

Flowers fade. Memory–and gratitude–will endure forever.

Names of heroes.
Names of heroes.
Flowers fade. Memory--and gratitude--will endure forever.
Flowers fade. Memory–and gratitude–will endure forever.

First San Diego Courthouse Museum in Old Town.

Likeness of Agoston Haraszthy, first Sheriff of the County of San Diego. He was elected in 1850 and served one term. He was a pioneer when it came to growing grapes and became known as the Father of California Wine.
Likeness of Agoston Haraszthy, first Sheriff of the County of San Diego. He was elected in 1850 and served one term. He was a pioneer when it came to growing grapes and became known as the Father of California Wine.

Visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park can get a taste of the city’s early history when they step into the First San Diego Courthouse Museum.

One of many free attractions that can be found around Old Town’s central Plaza de Las Armas, the First San Diego Courthouse Museum is a recreation of our city’s first fired-brick structure, built in 1847 by members of the Mormon Battalion.

From 1847 to 1850 the original building served as the office of el Alcalde (Mexican mayor) of San Diego. Beginning in 1850 it contained the office of San Diego Mayor and City Clerk, and was used for meetings of the San Diego Common Council. The building was also used as a city and county courthouse and First District Court beginning in 1850.

Other uses for the building would include a meeting place for Masonic Lodge No. 35, headquarters of the U.S. Boundary Commission, office of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, and a place of worship for San Diego’s first Protestant church.

Come with me inside the museum. Let’s have a peek at a few very small rooms and their fascinating exhibits.

Photo of the modest brick First San Diego Courthouse Museum in Old Town, a recreation of the city's first courthouse.
Photo of the modest brick First San Diego Courthouse Museum in Old Town, a recreation of San Diego’s first courthouse and city hall.
In 1847, the Mormon Battalion built the first fired-brick structure in San Diego. For a couple decades it would serve as courthouse.
In 1847, the Mormon Battalion built the first fired-brick structure in San Diego. For over two decades it would serve as courthouse.
Visitor to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park enters a fascinating recreation of the city's first courthouse and city hall.
Visitor to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park enters a fascinating recreation of the city’s first courthouse and city hall.
The portrait is of Oliver S. Witherby, He was appointed First District Judge in 1850. He served for 3 years. He is considered the Father of San Diego Jurisprudence.
The portrait is of Oliver S. Witherby, He was appointed First District Judge in 1850. He served for 3 years. He is considered the Father of San Diego Jurisprudence.
A time capsule lies in a corner of the first San Diego courthouse. It is scheduled to be opened in 2050.
A time capsule lies under this cornerstone of the first San Diego courthouse. It is scheduled to be opened in 2050.
A display case in San Diego's first courthouse contains artifacts from the 19th century, including old pipe bowls and an antique lawyer's briefcase.
A display case in San Diego’s first courthouse contains artifacts from the 19th century, including old pipe bowls and an antique lawyer’s briefcase.
In 1872 a fire destroyed the San Diego courthouse. The fire burned a large part of Old Town's business section.
In 1872 a fire destroyed the San Diego courthouse. The fire burned a large part of Old Town’s business section.
Sign explains the first California courts. The district court convened here, and acted as the highest court in the state.
Sign explains the first California courts. The district court convened here, and acted as the highest court in the state.
This room in the small building was the mayor's office. Portraits of some early San Diego mayors are on the wall. Joshua H. Bean was San Diego's first mayor, elected in 1850.
This room in the small building was the mayor’s office. Portraits of some early San Diego mayors are on the wall. Joshua H. Bean was San Diego’s first mayor, elected in 1850.
A peek into the adjacent sheriff's office. I see rifles, handcuffs and keys to the outdoor jail cell.
A peek into the adjacent sheriff’s office. I see rifles, handcuffs and keys to the outdoor jail cell.
This iron jail cell was the size and construction of the original courthouse jail from 1850.
This iron jail cell was the size and construction of the original courthouse jail from 1850.
Break the law, and you might end up in here!
Break the law, and you might end up in here!
the San Diego Courthouse and City Hall museum in Old Town is open free to the public every day.
A small museum depicting the first San Diego Courthouse and City Hall in Old Town is open free to the public every day.

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Horses and riders gather for St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

A horse is prepared in a corner of Balboa Park for San Diego's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade along Sixth Avenue.
A horse is prepared in a corner of Balboa Park for San Diego’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade along Sixth Avenue.  San Diego Bay and Point Loma can be seen in the distance.

Here are some fun photos!

Look what I discovered this morning as I walked through Marston Point, heading into the heart of Balboa Park. Horses and riders had gathered in the southwest corner of the park and were preparing for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade! Every year the big parade heads down nearby Sixth Avenue.

Both horses and riders would be wearing green today during the parade.
Both horses and riders would be wearing green today during the parade.
Horse and rider get ready in Balboa Park's Marston Point parking lot.
Horse and rider get ready in Balboa Park’s Marston Point parking lot.
Folks dressed in cowboy attire watch the proceedings.
Folks dressed in cowboy attire watch the proceedings.
A couple of horses from Valley Center wait by a trailer for the start of the parade.
A couple of horses from Valley Center wait by a trailer for the start of the parade.
A nice smile from a rider!
A nice smile from a rider!
Law enforcement would ride in the parade, too. These two horses were wearing some green shamrocks.
Law enforcement would ride in the parade, too. These two horses were wearing some green shamrocks.
A horse and rider with fancy braids.
A horse and rider with braids and curls.
This elegant carriage would soon be watched by thousands during the big parade.
This elegant carriage would soon be watched by thousands during the big St. Patrick’s Day parade.
A rider heads across the grass of Balboa Park's lush green Marston Point.
A rider heads across the grass of Balboa Park’s beautiful green Marston Point.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!