People We Meet

 

People We Meet

Times Have Changed, But Teenagers Haven’t

Mauricio Quijada moved to the Mission District from El Salvador in 1984 when he was eight years old. Posted between the Mission and Potrero Hill, he has watched San Francisco experience a tech boom, a bubble burst, and another boom. Today, he works as a print manager at NativeGraphix and H.O.M.E.Y, which create and fund educational programs for young locals. Quijada was involved in street gangs as a teenager, and…

Bartending is like acting

Danny Garland started serving beer and wine before he could buy it. He was just 18 years old in Los Angeles. Thirty-two years later, he still loves the job. “If I was still at this age worried about how much money I was making behind the bar, I wouldn’t be behind the bar. It’s not a solid job.” “It’s kinda like being on stage in a sense. You get to…

A serendipitous life

David Kasprzak inside his pop-up shop "Colpa Books and Video" on Mission St. David Kasprzak, an artist, art teacher and book publisher, moved to San Francisco 12 years ago. The trip he took to get here is far from ordinary. In 2001 David was hopping freight trains to cross the country. Being arrested regularly for trespassing didn’t bother him because at least going to jail for the night meant he…

24 years in the Mission

Thoughts and advice from Bishop Graham, 68, a retired professor and speech pathologist.  Graham, born in Winston Salem, North Carolina ended up joining the U.S. Navy where, he said, he grew up. These days, you can often see him in the mornings playing tennis on the courts in Dolores Park. Probably the thing I noticed most is the number of people living on the streets. I don’t recall that being…

It’s my home

Connie Rivera, owner, Mixcoatl, 24th Street   A crew of colorful yet menacing lucha libre masks stare at you as you walk by the vibrant Mixcoatl at 3201 24th Street. Sonora Dinamita, Hector Lavoe, and a song featuring Marc Anthony and La India play over the loudspeaker, spilling Latino sounds onto the streets. This store is Connie Rivera’s “home,” which she opened in 2004. There she speaks Spanish, English and…

Streetwear and… coffee?

Chris Chris Backdahl, 23, Benny Gold I walked into the brightly lit Benny Gold shop and saw what was both a counter with coffee machines and also a selection of corduroy snapback hats. Chris Backdahl laughed with a customer who was telling him about how good the coffee was. He commented on my clothes and said I looked like his old roommate: “I just recently moved here from Ohio, about…

High Heels on Mission Street

Francisco Marquez, owner, The Zapato on Mission Street. Zapato sells imported shoes from Mexico. “A year ago it was better,” said Marquez of the five-year-old business that moved two years ago to its present location at 2435 Mission St in the Plaza del Sol. Like many merchants on Mission, he blames a drop in business to the new Muni lanes. “It’s harder for customers to park,” he said, adding that…

At Doc’s Clock, everything works

Carey Suckow, owner For three weeks now, Doc’s Clock has been open in its new space and other than the move and reorganizing, owner Carey Suckow is loving the space. “It all works,” she said of the space on Mission between 20th and 21st streets. “The electricity, the plumbing, everything.” Plus, she said, “the bathrooms are super big.” Best of all – their old customers have returned and it’s feeling…

From East Coast to West Coast

Bill Schwab, 59 Bill was walking down 19th and Valencia with a smile on his face. He told me how much of a good day it was and seemed to be having one himself. “I work at the Curran,” he said, then chuckled, “I’m a Curranator, which is their made-up, fancy word for an usher. I also do distribution sales for the SF Public Press.” He’s worked at the Curran…

Where the Brazilian flag hangs high in SF

Luisa, 22, Mercado Brasil A new series, People We Meet and yes, inspired by Humans of New York. Luisa worked behind a register with a deck of pastries next to her and spoke Portuguese to the customers ahead of me. She wiped her hands clean before putting all her cooking gear back in place. “I got here 11 months ago and before that I went to high school in Alameda…

“My parents never trusted Los Angeles after that”

Elisa Nguyen, 17 Elisa was sitting on the steps of a house, enjoying the view of the passive Cumberland street. “My mom came from Korea to California in like the 60’s, my dad was from Korea also but was living in Los Angeles,” she said, “Guess where they lived?” It was Koreatown. “Yep, they were smack in the center of the chaos when the Rodney King stuff started,” Elisa said,…

A summer job with papa

Carla Arana and Ivania Cortez, cashiers. Two young girls stand behind the cashier at Casa Maria Produce Market. One of them is Carla Arana, who is the daughter of the owner. She works in the store during the summer. “It’s fun to work here,” said Arana. Cortez, an employee of the store for six months also likes it because, she says, it lets her meet many new people. Plus they…

Burning Man makes August a good month

Vanessa Porrez, 29. Pikitos (thrift store) With a yellow awning poking out of the Mission stores that hugged each other, Vanessa Porrez, who was born and raised on 25th and Valencia streets, watched an elderly lady walk out with a colorful selection of clothing from Pikitos at 2336 Mission St. Vanessa seemed happy to talk about her store. “We’re actually a family run business, we opened four years ago and…

A Mexican immigrant who roots for Club Barcelona

Juan Serrano, Elite Sports manager Serrano has been working for Elite Sports on Mission Street for approximately a year “It’s fun to work here,” he said explaining that he gets to talk about soccer all day with the many Latino clients who visit the store “We do well when there are games,” he said referring to the school year’s futbol season. Serrano first played futbol at the age of six…

The Kids Could Not Believe It

Frank Lara, teacher. The week after Trump got elected we organized a march against hate here at our school. Families came. It was something like 700 people. One of the conversation with the kids was: “Oh well, Donald Trump is so dumb!” I had to pause and be like: “You know he is very smart. He has investors. He influences people. He reads several papers every day and I can’t…

The 11 a.m. Sunday Mass

Juan Pablo Duran, 9 years old Juan was on his way with is mother home from the 11 a.m. mass at St. Peter’s. After mass, his mom bought him cotton candy. “My favorite color is blue.” More Missionites!

America and the New Frontier

I saw Denny Smith, 64, pushing a cart loaded with books down Valencia Street. He was on his way to give them to the Community Thrift Store. How did you decide what to get rid of? Some are books that I’ve either read or, like the Chemistry of Non-Aqueous Solvents, books that I will never, ever read. I love old textbooks. Some of these have covers that are just incredible….

Puffer Fish and Dave Eggers

Eva Shantharam, a deckhand at 826 Valencia. How did you come across this job? I had been volunteering at 826 Valencia and saw the job opening. I recently finished grad school and the part-time job was a great fit for me because I wanted to focus on my writing. I’m working on a young adult sci-fi novel. What are your duties? I am in charge of the puffer fish. I…

Painting Mission Walls

My name is Tetris, and I came up from Los Angeles to do this collaboration wall that I’m painting with my crew, we are known as the WAI crew. The theme of the wall is ‘wild animal instincts’ – we are intending for it to be a memorial piece for one of our graffiti community members who passed away last week. He went by the name “Animal.” We just started,…

Painting with Mission Colors

Jessica Joy Jirsa paints urban landscapes from the Mission and San Francisco. She gets to know people who live in the areas she paints because they see her on their way to and from home. “I started this on Tuesday and came back today. I was daring it to rain!” Despite the cold when she started the painting, the colors in her painting are warm, fitting for the hot day…

Preferably booking life

Alvin Orloff, manager, Dog Eared Books [Today’s been] the same as always: buy books, sell books, shelve books, price books, rearrange books, look at books, recommend books, help people find books. The minute I was shown books, I preferred them to reality instantly. I’m absolutely introverted. People who like books are the easiest people to be around. Most of the people coming here are very civil in a way that…

SF State studying, Farina working

Nina and Evan Mission Local: What are you all up to today? Evan: We’ve been here since 11:30 Nina: [Today] was okay. We’ve had busier days. Evan: It’s hot out, so… Nina: We have outside seating, so when there’s nice weather, people come out. Evan: We can make $200 in check tips. Nina: On a really good lunch. Mission Local: Are you all students or doing other stuff on the…

Freelancing, starting up

Ross, freelance programer, interviewed at Sycamore Bar I’m doing web development. I was commissioned to do a subcontract for a website which is a bit of a instagram/Tumblr/Instatumblrgrambook. I’m a freelancer, so I have to get my clients by word of mouth. He came through craigslist. I’ve been freelancing about 4 years now. I’ve worked at a few startups. I would not like to mention their names because I was…

Keeping busy

Patricia , Cashier/shopkeeper, K&D Market I’m working here five years now, but I live in Daly City. Today, I got in at around 12 and get off at around 8. Right now, I’m separating coins. Normally it’s really quiet. Somedays, there are crazy people. But usually, it’s okay. Around 6 to 7, it’s crazy. We sell a lot of beers and wines. I like it better when it’s crowded. Otherwise…

2 Comments

  1. Marie Rigsby

    My name is Marie and I was born raised in the mission I’ve been awhile since I’ve been in the city but when people ask me where I’m from I tell them I am from San Francisco the Mission District I’m very proud of you I just wanted to say please help our people another surveys are out about percentages and it seems that women are the ones that are hit the hardest if you’re from the city and the mission but you don’t live there anymore be proud of where you came from even though we’re not there we still need to help our people I’m not rich but if there’s anything else I can do to help to get people to notice that these people need a place to live without struggling and stressing how they going to feed their babies how’s it going to buy diapers California supposed to be the richest state I don’t see it at least not with the people that were born here so I meet you doubts to everybody who loves their City and most important being proud to come from the mission

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