The Calle 24 Latino Cultural District officially hired its first employee earlier this month. Moisés Garcia, who will serve as Calle 24’s corridor manager, is an experienced community organizer with a background in economics and public policy. He most recently worked at Instituto Familiar de la Raza, where he coordinated their acquisition of a satellite office and an organizational strategic planning initiative, among other efforts. Calle 24 was lucky to have a number of qualified candidates to interview, and Garcia stood out with his multifaceted talents and experience.
He will work closely with Calle 24 businesses and nonprofits, the Calle 24 Cultural District Council, council president Erick Argüello and Diana Ponce De León from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development’s Invest in Neighborhoods Initiative, to ensure an economically and culturally vibrant and healthy corridor. The position is funded in support of the Latino Cultural District through Invest in Neighborhoods and the Office of Mayor Ed Lee.
Latino Cultural District Council member, Wendy Bardsley, sat down with Garcia to learn more about him and to see how he feels about getting to work.
How do you connect with Calle 24?
As a Latino from Southern California, I perceive Calle 24 as a bastion of Latino identity that has been extremely welcoming and nurturing to me since I moved here six years ago. This community has become my family, one that I care for deeply and one that I’d like to see thriving for years to come.
What excites you most about the position?
I’m looking forward to working with businesses and community institutions to provide support that will strengthen and increase their longevity in the Mission. The neighborhood is facing issues ranging from rising rents, displacement, new competition and changing regulations, among many others. I’m excited to be a full-time advocate and resource for the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District focused on ensuring that economic development happens in a culturally and sensitive manner.
Tell us a little about relevant experience you bring to Calle 24.
I’ve worked at various nonprofits for more than 10 years focused on youth empowerment, providing healthcare and mental health services. My primary responsibilities have included communicating the programs we provided to clients and donors as well as informing the public that there were services for them to access. I’ve had the opportunity to work on compliance and strategic planning efforts in addition to educating and training others on complex issues, like health care access. These skills will be pivotal as corridor manager, which in large part will involve implementing a community-driven economic development plan that connects businesses to services and programs provided by the city and nonprofits. Additionally, I’ll assist with marketing efforts for Calle 24 and its businesses, as well as helping merchants with business compliance issues.
My educational experience is in economics and public policy focused on sustainable development and income inequality. I’m glad that I get to be a voice on behalf of the Mission to champion policies that strengthen our community.
What else would you like to add to introduce yourself to the community?
I feel very honored to be a part of Calle 24 and to have been entrusted with the day-to-day work of preserving, enhancing and advocating for cultural continuity, vitality and community in the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District and the greater Mission. I know that this isn’t going to be an easy job but I do know working together—businesses, cultural institutions and neighbors—we can all work together to protect our community.
Story by: Wendy Bardsley