‘Calle 24’ aims to preserve Latino heritage


Ellis Act evictions and an influx of wealthy techies may be pushing San Francisco housing prices through the roof and forcing long-term residents out, but one area of town is fighting to maintain its culture and character.

A portion of the Mission District along 24th Street between Mission Street and Potrero Avenue was declared a Latino Cultural District last week, thanks to efforts by Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor David Campos.

Campos told SFBay the new cultural district would help preserve the neighborhood’s values:

“The community within the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District is witnessing rapid change to the neighborhood – a product of the affordability crisis that has overtaken San Francisco. Action to formally recognize the neighborhood’s historical and cultural significance is necessary – so as to prevent it from disappearing.”

The new cultural district, called Calle 24 or Calle Veintucuatro in Spanish, contains the Brava Theater, Galeria de La Raza, the 24 Street mini park along with St. Peter’s Catholic Church. The area also plays host to events like Carnaval and the Cesar Chavez Parade and Festival.

Supporters of the new community district said they hope the creation of a cultural and commercial corridor will help preserve the spirit and history of the neighborhood.

Joaquín Torres, Deputy Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, told SFBay the cultural corridor would help local businesses while strengthening the area’s diversity. 

“Calle Veinticuatro’s cultural assets play a vital role in the Latino history of this city and greatly contribute to its strong and vibrant local economy.”

Along with the creation of a cultural district, community leaders will also be studying methods to help preserve the City’s Latino heritage. This project, launching next week, will take the form of a report.

The project is called “Nuestra Historia: Documenting the Chicano, Latino, and Indígena Contributions to the Development of San Francisco” and is intended to trace the influence of Latinos on San Franciscan history.

Ending with a written report, the project will be the work of scholars and working professionals and will include recommendations on how best to preserve Latino heritage in the area.

The project is funded by the City of San Francisco’s Historic Preservation Fund Committee and is in partnership with the San Francisco Latino Historical Society and San Francisco Heritage.

It’s designed to document and preserve the Latino influence in San Francisco at a time when many Latinos and their institutions face the increasing threat of eviction because of rising rental prices.

The report will cover San Francisco history since before the Gold Rush and through to modern day.

The first meeting will take place Saturday, June 7 in the City College of San Francisco Mission Campus auditorium from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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