Loraine Garcia-Nakata from the American Latino Musuem.

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.

Claire Weissbluth

Claire is a filmmaker who grew up deep in the woods of Northern California. She's passionate about visual storytelling and taco trucks, taking pictures of street art, and watching movies at the Roxie.

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18 Comments

  1. “As a special cultural district, the Planning Commission will have to take Calle24′s Latino cultural history and make decisions that preserve it.”

    Nah-ah Claire. There is no teeth to any of this. It’s only a consideration, planning is not forced to do anything concrete.

    1. The teeth will be in a special use district created by the community. Like Chinatown has or japantown. This is the next step.

  2. The teeth behind this ‘movida política’ is us Latinoamericanos living in the USA who will continue to thrive due to our blood, sweat and tears not to speak of our ingenuity, diversity, ‘gracia y pasión’. The sky is the limit with with ‘ganas’ ’cause ¡Sí se puede, hermanos!

  3. I especially like the worried looking pose in the photo of the “Local’s” franchise owner Yaron Milgrom. Appropriating the term “local’s” and using it to name businesses that strictly exclude long time residents based on color or income, is indeed quite worrisome.

  4. The owner of Locals has nothing to worry about. His businesses are always packed with waiting lines to the cafe. Now if only the ones supposedly concerned about the changes in the neighborhood would make the same kind of improvements, commitment to the area. Before Mr Migrom & others like him came along, this stretch was blighted, run down.

  5. only one thing will preserve mission district businesses and cultural entities, and it is not by creating a “cultural district” or “special use”. it is by their having a strong customer base that supports their businesses financially. that is their only hope for survival. no matter how iconic or beloved if they do not serve the community as it now exists they will cease to exist. that is true of any business in any neighborhood.

  6. Precita Park has nothing to do with 24th Street, and should not be included in this racist zone. This is nuts.

  7. Why on earth is Precita Park in Bernal Heights, south of Cesar Chavez included? It’s not part of the Mission, and not rationally a part of Calle 24. Why should lower 24th Street in the Mission control anything about Precita Park and Bernal Heights?

    1. Both Campos and Erick Arguello have agreed to amend the language to “return” Precita Park to Bernal Heights. Good!

    2. Why on earth were Eric Quezada and Tom Ammiano, both residents of Bernal, allowed to have decisive say over the rezoning of the Mission into a craptacular luxury condolicious la la land?

      1. Because planning is a city-wide function with city-wide benefits.

        And because the Mission is not a jurisdiction with powers of self-determination, but rather a neighborhood (with apparently fluid borders).

        1. Point Mike at the keyboard and one of the same five answers spews out.

          The point of this subthread is that the Mission planned for Bernal. When Bernal complained, Mission’s claims on Bernal were slated to be repealed. Would that the same courtesy were extended by Bernal residents to the Mission.

          1. The theme park designation of an arbitrary set of blocks cannot materially be regarded as a planning decision.

            As I understand it, the designation is merely symbolic, leading to a few signs and a vague feeling of self-absorption.

            You might as well complain that all the supervisors voter on this. Why not just let Campos decide on his own?

            You should start a secession movement for your zip code.

          2. Joust at another windmill. I did not characterize the magnitude of consequences that this district brings.

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