Residents of the Mission were stunned this weekend to find that a popular mural of music legend Carlos Santana had been vandalized with white paint, according to a community artist and organizer.
Artist Mel Waters and others spent much of the day Saturday trying to clean up and repair the mural on 19th and Mission Street, according to artist and community organizer Roberto Hernandez.
Murals are beloved in the Mission, and it is virtually unheard of for them to be defaced, Hernandez said in an interview earlier Sunday:
“In this neighborhood, murals are sacred. … They’re like your mother. They are not touched. It’s an unspoken rule in this barrio (that) you respect murals.”
The mural of Santana, who grew up in the Mission, was created by Waters over several months in 2014. It’s titled “Para La MiSion” and was designed to both honor the community’s native son and give hope to Latinos in the neighborhood who have been adversely affected by gentrification, Hernandez said.
Artist: Mel Waters 2014 pic.twitter.com/H8ODcAtmMV
— HardlyStrictlyJorge (@SFTravelnTunes) June 5, 2018
The worst part of the vandalism, Hernandez said, was the use of white paint, which he believes was racially motivated:
“This is obviously a hate crime. It’s not something that’s the norm in our community. We went out there and immediately got it cleaned up. We wanted to make a statement we’re not going to be part of this hate and anger.”
Hernandez said he asked police at the Mission District station to review security camera footage on the block for evidence of the crime but had not heard back as of Sunday.
A San Francisco police spokesman said today there weren’t other details about the vandalism available.