At 5 a.m. on Columbus Day, a dozen Mission youth boarded a ferry for Alcatraz to the sound of drum beats. They were on their way to Indigenous Peoples Day, a sunrise ceremony celebrating Native American culture.

“Most of our kids are kids of color,” said Valerie Tulier, director of the Mission Beacon Center, a community-based organization that keeps kids off the street by offering activities such as tutoring, art classes and field trips.

“When you start planting seeds of social awareness … culture and community, then they start to have a different perspective on what their position is in society,” she said.

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The Mission District has always been Ryan Loughlin’s favorite neighborhood in the City. The tacos of La Taqueria remind him of the food that his host mother used to cook when he was living in Guanajuato, Mexico. As a crime reporter he is getting to know the other side of the area. No, he is not scared (yet). On the contrary, he wants to learn more about all the community organizations that work with kids to keep them off the streets.

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  1. Many years ago and while living and working in the Mission, I too had the opportunity to participate in a similar sun rise ceremony with my native brothers and sisters and know, it touched me deeply and serves to this day as a remnder to stay on the “Red Path” and true to who and what we are; and do believe WE ARE ALL ONE PEOPLE !