SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Sunday’s 36th annual Carnaval festivities brought thousands of people to San Francisco’s Mission District for a daylong multi-ethnic celebration, but some activists concerned about gentrification in the Mission, and what they consider its fading cultural roots, took the opportunity to protest a popular neighborhood restaurant.
The Mission has long been known as a melting pot of ethnicities, languages and cultural traditions, but many have voiced their opinions that the tech industry and its workers, hungry for a piece of San Francisco, are driving up rents and driving out the city’s long-time residents and local-owned mom and pop-type businesses.
Anna Slovacek, who lives in the Mission, is behind a drive to maintain equity in the neighborhood.
“We want to make the message that Mission is not for sale. The Mission is not our lifestyle. The Mission is our community. We have families that have been here since the 1930s,” but she said those families are being driven out.
The Mission/Bernal chapter or Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) leafleted outside Local’s Corner, a restaurant they claim discriminates by hiring non-Latinos from outside the Mission.
According to ACCE, restaurant owners Yaron Milgrom and Jake Des Voignes own four upscale businesses in the Mission. The problems with the restaurant go back more than a year when a community leader and artist, Sandra Cuadra, was allegedly refused service along with family members at Local’s Corner, setting off protests and allegations of racial discrimination. Milgrom issued an apology in the local Spanish-language community newspaper, El Tecolote.
Milgrom later said his restaurant has a policy against seating large parties.
ACCE said in response to recent vandalism of Local’s Corner that they would like for community members to use non-violent means to address grievances of the community.