A crowd of several hundred artists, musicians, and city residents gathered in San Francisco Wednesday to rally in support of a defaced and burned mural that celebrates the Latino LGBT culture.
The Mission District Latino LGBT mural at 24th and Bryant Street was defaced four times and then set on fire Monday night in what police are describing as a hate crime.
City Supervisor David Campos, an openly gay Latino man, organized Wednesday’s rally along with community leaders to show support for the burned LGBT Latino mural and the ideals it represents.
“After such a beautiful and historic Pride weekend, it was heartbreaking to wake up to the news that a mural that celebrates Latino/Chicano LGBT culture in the Mission was destroyed yet again, this time by arson. The Mission is a neighborhood that has a long history of tolerance and acceptance of all people. Homophobia or hate of any kind has no place in our neighborhood.”
Apparently set on fire late Monday night, little remains of the Latino LGBT mural now except a burned wooden frame.
Titled “Por Vida” the Latino LGBT mural was constructed in early June and is the work of artist Manuel Paul. It depicted two queer men on the left and two queer women on the right with a transgender man in the middle.
Vandals first struck three days after the Latino LGBT mural went up and then again three days after it was repaired.
Police are concerned for the safety of residents who live near the Latino LGBT mural and say they have a suspect description and are investigating.
The Latino LGBT mural’s destruction comes after San Francisco enjoyed a weekend long party during the Gay Pride Parade celebration after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage for all Americans.
The act of vandalism is disheartening for residents who celebrated last week’s Supreme Court decision.
Ani Rivera, who works as art director of the Galeria de la Raza, which constructed the Latino LGBT mural, told the San Francisco Chronicle the attack on the LGBT Latino mural must have come from a hate group.
“We are at a turning point. Let us not keep this terrorizing event in our minds and allow it to block us but rather motivate us into action and positive transformation. We have many examples of love and acceptance to draw upon in this community. It is our responsibility to take this painful experience and turn it into an opportunity to promote unity and greater solidarity.”