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A new mural in San Francisco’s Mission District unveiled Thursday aims to uplift the city’s Latino community, which has been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mural features a portrait of acclaimed Latino poet Yosimar Reyes and his grandmother Mardonia Galeana, as they both wear masks, with text reading, “you are my other me” in Spanish.
The text is a quote from the 1973 poem ‘Pensamiento Serpentino’ by renown Chicano playwright Luis Valdez.
“For us to be featured in this mural means that we are honoring the communities we represent,” Reyes said in a statement. “The coronavirus impacted undocumented/immigrant communities at great disproportion and often we exist in the shadows, but this mural is declaring that we are essential to this country. I want my Abuela (grandmother) to be the beacon that reminds us to stand proud, because beyond being undocumented or workers, we are fighters. This mural is for undocumented communities to see their beauty and exist beyond what we do for this country.”
“When tasked with creating work for the Latinx community, I knew I wanted to send a message of intergenerational care, a reminder that we must take care of one another.”Elizabeth Blancas, mural artist
“It is an honor to create this mural in Clarion Alley as the Mission District is where I began finding my voice as a young artist,” Blancas said. “When tasked with creating work for the Latinx community, I knew I wanted to send a message of intergenerational care, a reminder that we must take care of one another.”
The mural was made with help from the Clarion Alley Mural Project, or CAMP, a collective of local mural artists who strive to create socially engaged murals.
CAMP Co-Director Megan Wilson said, “The work speaks to the important need for intergenerational support and care for one another during these challenging times, and especially for our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities, which have been disproportionality impacted by COVID.”
Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, San Francisco Latinos represent more than 40 percent of the city’s cases, despite only representing just 15 percent of the city’s population.
In addition, neighborhoods with high Latino populations like the Mission District, the Tenderloin, the Bayview, Hunters Point and the Excelsior have some of the highest case rates throughout the city.
According to the city’s Latino Task Force, Latinos remain vulnerable to COVID-19 since many work as essential workers and live in crowded conditions with extended family, oftentimes being forced to choose between a paycheck and their health.