Mission District leaders and downtown officials inaugurated the Calle 24 District today at Harrison and 24th streets in the Mission.
Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguía has called Calle 24 “a little Macondo, where you can find sugared-skulls, exiled poets and colonels who fought in losing wars.”
“Latinos in San Francisco have provided a grounding and a sense of place for cross-cultural and artistic exchange, partnership, collaboration, and dialogue, resulting in artistic and social justice movements that have influenced and pushed the rest of our nation to extend its own thinking, social boundaries, and its related practices,” said Lorraine Garcia-Nakata, an artist and cultural specialist from the American Latino Museum.
“There are many of us here who owe our artistic and cultural footing to this part of the city, and I mean that,” she added.
The district is bounded by 22nd and Cesar Chavez streets and Potrero and Mission streets. Outside of these boundaries it will also include La Raza Park, Precita Park and the Mission Cultural Center.
The resolution establishing the district offers a sweeping history of Latinos in the Mission, beginning in the 1930s but “already established nearly a century before.”
The district became a destination for Latinos from all over Latin America after World War II and the Central American civil wars triggered a second influx. During this time, the 16th Street BART plaza became known as Plaza Martí “after Salvadoran leftist leader Farabundo Martí and the 24th Street plaza was known as Plaza Sandino after the Nicaraguan revolutionary Augusto Cesar Sandino.
Within the district, Latino businesses, art institutions and art thrived.
As a special cultural district, the Planning Commission will have to take Calle24’s Latino cultural history and make decisions that preserve it.