A former gang member, Gaynor canvasses with the San Francisco Street Violence Intervention Program to respond to gang activity within the Latinx community. Photo by Mike Kai Chen.
Gaynor’s 73 year old father sits waiting as Gaynor and her mother prepare dinner. His family takes him to dialysis three times a week. Photo by Mike Kai Chen.

“This is how I heal myself.”

Gaynor Siataga
Gaynor cheerfully greets all the volunteers at the Mission Resource Hub while picking up more boxes of food for delivery. Photo by Mike Kai Chen.
Embracing a boy volunteering at the Mission Resource hub. “We need to set an example for our new generation to volunteer and care for our community.” Photo by Mike Kai Chen.
Some large corporations make donations with ulterior motives, including this one with a political message from President Trump, so Gaynor checks each package before delivery. Photo by Mike Kai Chen.
Gaynor delivers food to a family hit particularly hard by the Coronavirus pandemic. Photo by Mike Kai Chen.
Gaynor drops off food to COVID-19 positive community members under mandatory quarantine. For these deliveries, she must distance herself before calling recipients to come out. Photo by Mike Kai Chen.
During the recent UCSF/Latino Task Force testing campaigns, Gaynor and her sister, Jennifer, used a megaphone to direct pedestrians toward free Covid-19 test sites. Because she is immunocompromised, Jennifer is under strict protective measures, enforced by Gaynor, and not allowed to leave the car. Photo by Mike Kai Chen.
Having lived in San Francisco since the 1970s, Gaynor’s tight-knit family are die-hard followers of San Francisco sports teams. Photo by Mike Kai Chen.
Recently, Gaynor learned that she and her family would have to move from their apartment in public housing at Bernal Dwellings while it is renovated. Gaynor’s sister, Jennifer, who is required to wear a helmet because of her brain lesions, watches one of the ongoing renovations. Photo by Mike Kai Chen.
Gaynor worries that they may not be allowed to return, but she also knows that the community work she does will help connect her with housing opportunities. Photo by Mike Kai Chen.
Gaynor’s younger sister, Jennifer, moves all her belongings into the backyard as the family packs everything into boxes. The city gave Gaynor’s family seven days’ notice to vacate for renovation. Photo by Mike Kai Chen.
Skeptical the city will allow their family to return to public housing, Gaynor shows her mother houses she could purchase after applying for a loan. Photo by Mike Kai Chen.
On her last night at their home of 15 years, Gaynor sits amid the chaos created by the move. Gaynor sees helping her family and community as her therapy. Photo by Mike Kai Chen.
“I am truly blessed. My family and my community are my life. This is how I heal myself.” –Gaynor Siataga. Photo by Mike Kai Chen.

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Mike is a San Francisco based freelance photographer and photojournalist passionate about stories of resilience and moments that define the human essence. www.mikekaichen.com

Join the Conversation


  1. Gaynor,
    Thank you for what you do for you, your family & the community!

    Arturo Carrillo
    San Francisco Street Violence Intervention Program, (SFSVIP)
    Latino Task Force

  2. I love you Gaynor! You are a wonderful sister, daughter, friend etc!! Thanks for always helping and volunteering. I sure do miss you!

  3. Gaynor and her family are well known in the community, all over sf. She is a respected individual and has earned her keeps. She is genuine and caring about the people and the struggle. She has what it takes to accomplish any task that is given. Blessings to you and your family always.

  4. I’ve known Gaynor since she was a teenager. She has become a strong force and advocate to her family, community and anything that she sets out to do!

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