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Mission Cultural Center Celebrates SF Lowrider Council’s 40th Anniversary

Mission Cultural Center Celebrates SF Lowrider Council’s 40th Anniversary

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Lowriders took over Mission Street from 24th to 26th Street on Sept. 18 for the 40th anniversary of the San Francisco Lowrider Council.

The event revolved around a historical exhibit that was held inside the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Featured in the exhibit was photography of classic lowriders from local car clubs and a photo wall that documented SFPD racism against young Latinos in the Mission. 

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Lowrider Council founder Roberto Hernandez was among those profiled and has been arrested for lowriding 113 times.

 “We started lowriding back in the ‘70s, eventually the police started cracking down on us,” said Hernandez who had founded the organization in 1981. 

Hernandez recalled the efforts of the SFPD to stop lowriding on Mission Street by bringing out officers donning riot gear. “They created martial law, you could not drive or walk down Mission Street on Friday or Saturday night … you go having a good time, yet the police are harassing everybody and arresting people,” Hernandez said.

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In retaliation for the actions of the SFPD at the time, Hernandez found a vacant lot where he could organize car meetups legally, which after a victory in court became La Raza Park, known today as Potrero Del Sol.

Lowriders from out of town came to Mission Street just for the occasion, some even as far as Los Angeles, Hernandez said. 

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Hernandez had the keys to the Mission Cultural Center during the SFPD’s declaration of martial law in the Mission and would let people without cars into the center to avoid arrest and beatings from officers.

“This is home for us from day one,” ​​Hernandez said of the Cultural Center. “So I felt it was appropriate to do the 40th anniversary exhibit here.”

San Francisco Lowrider Council’s next event is Cold Frisco Nights next month on Mission Street.

El Tecolote is 51 years strong this month!

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