There’s something special about 24th Street. I’ve felt that way ever since I first stepped on this street back in the 1970s.
I have seen plenty of changes since then in this stretch of San Francisco’s Mission District, historically the center of the city's Central American and Mexican community.
Between 1997 and 2014, this area experienced over 1,504 no-fault evictions in the Mission District. But the street’s energy and basic make-up have — so far! — been strong enough to survive the constant push toward San Francisco’s gentrification.
Owners of stores and restaurants come and go, homes and apartments get facelifts as real estate values shoot through the roof, and old properties get “repurposed.” The demographics change as well. But the art and music of this cultural corridor still speak to the resilience and love in this community.
I felt all that resilience and love earlier this month at the Paseo Artístico, a bilingual community art stroll organized by Acción Latina and a coalition of 24th Street/Calle 24 cultural venues. The “culture walk” wove its way along 24th Street, and I stopped at major points along the way to talk to locals, visit historic and newly created murals, and move to the beat of the fabulous musicians and dancers.
This year’s Paseo Artístico highlighted the vital importance of women to this oh so exciting and vibrant culture. The March 12 event, notes Fátima Ramirez of the El Tecolotenewspaper, featured over 50 women artists and women-led music ensembles, including an all-female mariachi band.
Let’s hope and work for a long and happy life for the Mission District’s Latinx community!