To Paint the Town Latino Blue
On the way to bless a newborn baby, I drove through the most colorful section of San Francisco, the barrio! I crossed Valencia, Mission and Van Ness. I drove on 23rd, 24th and 25th. There, the walls of buildings, garages, fences and kiosks were covered with vibrant and searing murals. These painted surfaces depicted a cultural history that constantly reminded the community of its deepest struggles. There were on those walls stories of courage and of conviction, of faith and friendship, of heartache and of lost sweethearts.
That neighborhood is a Latino storybook that delivers its message in paint and in pigment: images of the field workers, of the strikers, of the missing and presumed dead by the actions of the killing squads. There were pictures of poverty and images of the struggle for place and for purpose. The walls were rich and saturated. The walls were message boards for petitions and prayers.
I returned to the colors I remembered a week later and I memorized them.