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See Sacramento via Jamila Khan

Jamila Khan is a social media maestro, community activist and a telecommuting executive for the digital age. She also recently hijacked our Instagram for the week for our new series, See Sacramento – one week in the city, seen through the eyes of a local resident just like you.

Each week we’ll hand over The Sac Press Instagram account (@sacramentopress). You can follow along by looking for photos with the hashtag #seesacramento posted from our account. Then we’ll share the highlights, along with a brief Q&A, here on the site the following week.

Khan has spent most of her life in Sacramento, and she can point to plenty of reasons why. Read what occupies her on the grid and beyond, from the hottest spot to chill poolside to the only place to be at 1 a.m. on a Saturday. Khan exposes hidden love letters about town, the city’s most Gaga-laden jukebox, and explains why she thinks it’s important to look beyond the central city. 

Name: Jamila B. Khan
Occupation: A telecommuting- account executive, an editorial assistant at Style Media Group, a board member of Alchemist Community Development Corporation, a wanderer… I wear many (fashionable) hats!
Neighborhood: North Sacramento, Ben Ali specifically. You’ll find me if you take the El Camino exit on Business I-80.

Welcome to #BenAli! Enjoy our overhead power lines & many speed lumps (not bumps)! #SeeSacramento via @jamilabkhan // #NorthSac

SP: How long have you lived here?
JK: Other than during undergrad, I’ve lived here all my life. I was born in Sutter Memorial Hospital. I wonder if Ash Roughani and I were crib neighbors…

SP: Why have you stayed?
JK: I returned to Sacramento after I finished my bachelor’s degree at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I commuted to-and-from UC Davis for my master’s program and then just stuck around. I’ve reconnected with friends and family and in the past year, I’ve been blessed with so many opportunities – it is hard to leave!

SP: Where is your favorite spot to enjoy the outdoors?
JK: There are so many great parks and trails in Sacramento, but my favorite spot is a secluded beach off the American River Bike Trail, near the Cal Expo access point. Getting there is a bit dodgy – you have to walk off the trail and pass a power station, but this section of the American River is extraordinary. Plus, a couple spray-painted a big blue heart on a cement block near the sandbar. Modern romance and water: what else do you need?

SP: What’s the best season to spend in Sacramento, and why?
JK: Fall/Autumn is the best time of the year. Cooler, scarf- and boot-wearing weather and my birthday month of October. I am not biased whatsoever.

SP: Which happy hour spot is your favorite, and why?
JK: I never make it out to most happy hours, but I love the Mercantile (The Merc). The atmosphere is unpretentious and the price is right. Plus, the jukebox plays a lot of Lady Gaga.

SP: On a Friday or Saturday night, we’d find you…
JK: In the summer, I attend Concerts in the Park at Cesar Chavez Plaza, chowing down on food truck grub. If I’m feeling sassy, I’ll hit-up bars, clubs or new restaurants with some girlfriends or family. If I’m feeling lousy, I’m in my bedroom catching up on news or dancing to a Spotify station all by my lonesome self. A glamorous life indeed.

#Pink is in at @District30! #SeeSacramento via @jamilabkhan // #nightlife #sacramento #DowntownSac #thekay #dancingmachine #pink

SP: On a Sunday afternoon, we’d find you…
JK: If I’m in town and not working a community event, I’ll kick-off the day at FitClub at American River College then I’ll catch up with friends around town- Arden, Midtown, or wherever our hearts and cars take us. You might even find me at a Ross, Marshall’s or a thrift store if it’s payday weekend.

But if it’s deadline week for Style, I’ll be in my room typing away with Mad Men in the background.

SP: Describe our city in fifteen words or less.
JK: Sacramento is a confluence of two rivers and bold visions.

Chowing down w/the Sac Young Professionals of Color… #SeeSacramento via @jamilabkhan // #LandPark #MexicanFood #socialjustice

SP: I’m a tourist. What are the top three things I shouldn’t miss during my stay?
JK: One – Old Sacramento. Selling point: you can eat your weight in salt water taffy and face-sized peanut brittle in one afternoon. Two – any one of Sacramento’s farmers’ markets. The Sacramento region is blessed with optimal soil, water and weather leading to great agriculture. There are number of certified farmers markets held throughout the week, giving plenty of opportunities to grab something fresh, local and nutritious. Three – Acoustic Sanctuary/One Man Band. Walking into this Midtown-based neon trailer may be the most entertaining thing you do at 1 a.m. in Sacramento.

SP: Name one of Sacramento’s “hidden gems” – this could be a place, person, business, etc. What makes this a gem?
JK: The Elks Tower Pool is the epitome of a hidden gem. Located underneath the corner of 11th and J Street, this indoor waterless pool is the venue for some of the swankiest events I’ve attended.

SP: What conversation are you a part of, and why is it important?
JK: Sacramento is priming itself to be a fresh food hub – filled with community and school gardens, farmers’ markets, and locally-sourced restaurants. With Sacramento’s new designation as the Farm-to-Fork Capital, it is important that everyone have access to this bounty.

Checked out the new farm stand at Sam’s Market in #SouthOakPark… #SeeSacramento via @jamilabkhan // #Sacramento #OakPark #EBT

Unfortunately, many parts of the City are considered “food deserts,” places where fresh and healthy food is hard to find. In Sacramento County, there are nearly 220,000 food insecure residents – one in five of those food insecure people are employed but can’t afford adequate food. Of what people can afford, often it is loaded with not-so-savory ingredients and located miles away.

As a board member of Alchemist Community Development, a nonprofit that (among other things) works with community partners to create opportunities to improve healthy food access by processing and increasing CalFresh benefits at farmers’ markets, adding produce to convenience stores, and opening farm stands in neighborhoods. It’s a big undertaking, but worth seeing the delight of a child eating its first nectarine.

SP: Anything else?
JK: Sacramento is more than just the central city. Explore and invest in its outskirts – North and South Sacramento – and not just with beige big box stores. Improved access to transportation, social services and quality education are just a few of things that are needed to help places AND people reach their full potential.

Light Rail train heading off to #DowntownSacramento. #SeeSacramento via @jamilabkhan // #Sacramento #SacRT #NorthSacramento

Next week, we’ve got Liz Salmi snapping shots on the street. See Sacramento through her eyes by following @sacramentopress on Instagram.  

Editor’s note: The “News Digest” goes out every Tuesday morning and highlights our best stories, photos and videos from the week prior. Sign me up.

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