Photo by Lola M. Chavez

Colin Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality landed in the Mission District this week, when a mural of him kneeling was painted on the side of an empty building.

The building, located at 1899 Mission St. near 15th Street, had its window smashed two months ago, said Amy Kozlowski, an employee of the building’s new tenant. She returned to the building on Monday and found the Kapernick mural painted over plywood she had nailed to the broken window.

“The first reaction was, ‘That’s awesome,’” said Kozlowski, a project manager with the coworking space company Impact Hub, which is planning a move there in early 2017. “I think it’s a beautifully done mural and they’re reflecting Kaepernick’s statement.”

The 49ers quarterback has been kneeling during the national anthem of football games since August 26 to protest the treatment of minorities by the police.

The Kaepernick mural was painted after another mural from Precita Eyes that Impact Hub commissioned some six months ago had to be painted over, Kozlowski said. That mural — of Disney characters, one holding an anti-eviction sign — was ruined when someone smashed the building’s window with a brick, she said. 

Kozlowski was forced to board up the window and paint over the mural when it was defaced with graffiti — which began occurring weekly.

Kozlowski said she does not know who the artist is, who left a “Dino 2016” signature on the mural, but was appreciative of the artwork. She hopes the Kaepernick mural will stay as long as possible, but it will have to be removed when Impact Hub moves into the building and she removes the plywood covering the broken window.

Impact Hub is planning to move from its SoMa location in February or March next year, she said, but until that time she invited others to beautify the side of the building.

“I would welcome all artists to do the other side of the building,” she said. “It would only be for a few months, but if someone wants to do something where there’s no profanity, I would love to encourage any one who wants to paint something on the other side.”

Kaepernick has faced intense backlash for the protest, including from the San Francisco Police Officers Association, the police union, which sent a letter to the National Football League asking that the quarterback apologize for his protest. The Santa Clara police officers union even suggested its officers may boycott security at football games as a result. 

In the Mission District at least, which has seen three controversial police shootings in the last two and a half years, Kaepernick’s actions were better received. Football players at Mission High knelt in solidarity with Kaepernick last month with the support of their coach and principal.

Many of the players spoke of their own experiences being racially profiled by police officers in San Francisco.

The captain of the team, who is from the Bayview-Hunter’s Point, said the black community has been affected by the December 2015 fatal police shooting of Mario Woods. The shooting sparked city-wide protests against the then-police chief, Greg Suhr, who resigned in May after another fatal police shooting in the Bayview.

The student said he felt unsafe to be around police officers since the Woods shooting.

In the Bayview, another mural supporting Kaepernick was painted recently, according to Hoodline. The Bayview mural is similar to the Mission one but has the caption “Believe the Message, Not the Hype.”

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