On May 7, thunderous applause ushered in the official start of the Mission District revitalization campaign christened “Calle Limpia, Corazón Contento.”

“We’re here today in our home as the stewards of this land, and it’s our responsibility to take care of this district,” said Sharaya Souza, director and co-founder of the American Indian Cultural District. 

“Calle Limpia, Corazón Contento” is a joint effort shared between Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, The American Indian Cultural District and several other groups, including Mission District Supervisor Hillary Ronen.

“I’m proud of our community when we’re faced with these challenges, what’s really important is how we do it, we do it with community, we do it with a social justice lens, we do it with compassion and with love,” said Erick Arguello, president and founder of Calle 24 Latino Cultural District Council. “We want to lift people, and we want to support them.” 

The intersection of Mission and 24th streets on May 7. Photo: Onyx Hunter

The revitalization, according to organizers, is an effort that seeks to legitimize street vendors and provide resources to ensure that they can conduct business in the Mission, as well as proper removal of trash from the streets to ensure walkability and pedestrian access of Mission Street at the intersections of 16th and 24th street.

“When we talk about economic recovery, we aren’t talking about sweeping out the most vulnerable because we want to be rich,” said Susana Rojas, executive director of Calle 24. “Who wants to see our Mission Street like Chestnut Street?” 

The crowd shouted out resoundingly, “No.” 

Rojas exclaimed: “Are we the Mission?” and the crowd replied, chanting, “Mission! Mission! Mission!”

Partner organizations collaborated with Calle 24 for the event. In addition to offering information about their services, some distributed home COVID-19 testing kits, condoms and Narcan, a life saving drug that can prevent narcotic overdose. 

Aztec Dancers conduct a blessing before the start of the Calle Limpia, Corazón Contento event on May 7. Photo: Onyx Hunter

Members of the Aztec Dance group Xitalalli opened the event with a blessing to honor the volunteers and their efforts towards protecting and preserving the land in the Mission District. 

“This is an example of true meaningful partnership and collaboration,” said Paloma Flores, director of Community Development of The American Indian Cultural District. “The heart of our American Indian Cultural District is 16th and Mission, we are family.” 

Flores added: “Elders agree that we are the living prophecy of the condor and the eagle, the unification of people from both the North and South. On behalf of 17,000 Native Americans and Ramaytush Ohlone in San Francisco, we are grateful.”