Susana Rojas, the executive director of Calle 24 Photo by Neal Wong

The non profit Calle 24 launches a campaign to clean up Mission streets and organize the vendors.

Volunteers took to the streets Saturday morning to pick up trash, paint murals, and play music. The effort marked the campaign launch of Calle Limpia, Corazón Contento, which translates to Clean Street, Happy Heart.

“We want the streets to be clean with our culture,” said Susana Rojas, the executive director of Calle 24, the Latino Cultural District. The District is bound by Potrero, Mission, 22nd, and 27th streets.

Rojas said the pandemic had hit the Mission district’s residents and small businesses hard. Saturday’s event that focused on the trash on 24th and nearby streets was “all about coming together as a community and addressing those issues with love, with dignity and respect.”

Others also noted the deterioration of the streets over the pandemic. “Street conditions in the Mission right now are pretty horrendous, and there’s a lot of reasons for that, so we’re interested in putting together community organizing as well as policy efforts to try to change that,” said Jennifer Ferrigno, a volunteer who works as a legislative aide for District Supervisor Hillary Ronen (who spoke and also volunteered at the event).  

Jennifer Ferrigno, a volunteer cleaner, picks up some garbage near Mission and 24th. Photo by Neal Wong.

Volunteer cleaner Erick Arguello, an advocacy manager for GLIDE and a Mission resident, said he “filled about eight bags.” 

“The whole city needs work,” said Arguello. “The city is not what it used to be. It’s not just this neighborhood. It’s all the neighborhoods.” 

Rio Schloesser, a muralist who immigrated from Guatemala, contributed to a mural at 3111 24th St. with the goal of introducing non-binary Spanish words. “Spanish is a very gendered language. … it takes more of an effort to speak in a gender-neutral way in Spanish than it does in English.” 

Rio Schloesser holds their sketch of the mural with gender-neutral words in Spanish. Photo by Neal Wong.

They also said, “I think a lot of people will be seeing these words for the first time, and be like, ‘oh what’s that?’ and it’ll be like, ‘I’m non-binary.’”

Nancy Pili Hernandez, a muralist and Mission district resident since 1998, said the effort was a response to the emergency order that Mayor London Breed enacted in the Tenderloin. “That emergency order gave the police privileges that they should not have,” Hernandez said. “We do not want an emergency order in D9.” 

The mural that Hernandez worked on with local artist Vanessa Agana is at 3262 24th Street. Hernandez described the mural as “an image of the prophecy that indigenous people have documented throughout this continent for a very, very long time.” The mural uses the eagle, the condor, and the quetzal to represent the North, South, and Central regions.

Rojas said that planning the day-long event was challenging, with mural host businesses dropping out, participants who couldn’t make it after testing positive for Covid-19, and supplies arriving late, “but, like always, we just pull through together and we made it happen.”

Rojas assisted throughout the day and passed out meal vouchers to the volunteer muralists, cleaners, and DJs to redeem at participating local restaurants.

“We just knew we wanted to have a beautiful event, and I think that’s what we have,” said Rojas. 

Volunteers stand with garbage bags at Mission and 24th. Photo by Neal Wong.

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FREELANCER. Neal Wong is a born and raised San Franciscan and a sophomore at San Francisco State University. His interests include film and theatre, food, urban planning, travel, human behavior, government, and photography.

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  1. Marty,

    I’m cleaning it up and you should too.

    I clean with Manny’s who gives you a nice orange vest which Calle 24 really should supply.

    I carry a couple of quart jars of kitty litter and a box knife to reduce cardboard boxes to fit in the bags.

    Hour a week and Yekutiel get’s out couple dozen now weekly.

    See my work on my blog here …

    Go Warriors !!


    1. You’re crazy H. You’ve got it twisted. Like Daniel commented above the city should be doing this. They can write tickets, they can clean up. A neighborhood watch for garbage is a prime example of the taxpayers forced to compensate for misplaced tax revenue.
      The streets in the Mission are disgusting. Cut the Narcan revivals and pray for rain. This is the only way to wash the trash away. Happy to discuss. Jah bless.

      1. You’re calling for people to withhold Narcan so people can DIE of overdoses and you’re calling Nathan twisted?


  3. Organizations like Calle 24, politicians like Hilary Ronen have failed us. It’s very sad what this city has become

    1. people like Jonathan, have failed us. It’s very sad what this city’s populace has become

      1. After the City pushed the responsibility for tree trimming on tax paying businesses and residents (Nuru’s doing, that the politicos let slip through), now we are made feeling compelled to having to clean up the streets ourselves as well. Meanwhile, street parking is sold off to Zipcar and bike rentals. SFMTA is keeping busy with carving up and taking over city streets with single-minded focus, see 16th or Taraval. Sidewalks and bike racks are littered with e-scooter rentals. Then there’s the SFCTA salivating at the idea of tolling everybody out of town and Aaron Peskin taxing landlords for not finding small business tenants-to-be that simply don’t exist – in large part because, see above. So yeah, from a pragmatic perspective, we’re getting less and less while we continue to pay more and more.