“We are people of Unity when it comes to the 415.” These are words of Frisco born and raised Rafael Picazo, a brother and son of the city’s Mission District on the front lines against the police killings plaguing our communities. The sun rose with a big 415 on its face. It was our breath, our tears, our fire, our memory; it was a hug from a homegirl or homeboy from the 415, or foe-one-five; perhaps someone that was once your foe who you now embrace in unity. It was a day that we came together—black, brown, yellow, red, white and, in the words of Filipino Frisco born and bred Rudy Corpuz of United Playaz—candy stripe. 415 Day—a day of remembrance and honor–a day we honor our soul and spirit, which is the soul and spirit of the city. We honor our throats, anointing the city, from Bernal to Mission to Lakeview to Bayview to the Sunset, North Beach, Chinatown, J-Town, the Richmond and every place in between with the cry that shakes the city’s foundations: Errrrrray! A call that calls us back to our neighborhoods, our homes that were gutted by eviction; a call, a grito from deep within that expresses what we hold in for too long, looking for expression. A sound that says we ain’t forgot those who have been taken from us through police violence, economic violence and the betrayal of our communities by the city. 415 day, a day we come together to honor the black and brown heart of Frisco. But we didn’t know where it would be held. The day, 4-15-18 approached and all we knew is that it was happening, but where? So the word went out: send a message to so and so to find out, or send so and so a text message. I had to go. I’ve been in the same area code my whole life. 415 ain’t just a number. It’s in my DNA and in the DNA of the homeboys and homegirls that got the taste of Frisco on their tongues that spit truth and laughter and song. 415 is tattooed in my mind. I got the word that it was going to be held at Crocker Amazon. So I took the bus and the clouds were gray. I walked up Amazon Street and thought that eventually some digital missionary will say that the street was named in honor of his company but f**k that, we got some straight up warriors in the Excelsior that ain’tgonna let that happen. I arrived and I felt the black and brown of us. I felt the lives in our skin come alive, every tattoo living with movement, a story—beautiful and tragic and alive, refusing to die, refusing to forget the city that forgot us, the city that we helped create. So many faces, children, OG’s, dudes comin’ up in the world, looking for their place, their space and they find it in the beats that come from the heart and through the chest, sounds that move on turntables, turning like wheels, like seasons spent in this place in the heart we call the 415. There were many I did not know, but the feeling was there, in the words of Frisco’s Max LeYoung, who worked tirelessly to support the Frisco Five Hunger Strikers:
415 day feels like a family reunion to me. There are many whom I only see once a year on that special day. For all the people who don’t know each other, there is a common and shared yet unspoken understanding that we come from the same place that we take so much pride in. We share a common culture which shapes who we are. 415 day to me, means community, family and culture.
415 Day, at Crocker Amazonwhere the green grass welcomed us, didn’t ask us for a reservation or ID; where the earth under our feet knew us, spoke to us: I remember you when you were a baby, when you took your first steps in the 415…and I remember your daddy and your daddy’s daddy and your mama and your mama’s mama—and the smell of the cooking that came out of the window: adobo, gumbo, menudo, sinigang, black eyed peas.Born and raised San Franciscan Rafael Picazo stood in the grass, big smile, feeling the importance of this day. “The Native people of San Francisco have been losing spaces/parks to the newbies/tecies for years now, so 415 Day is day the Native people of San Francisco come together with love in their hearts to reclaiming our space/parks and enjoy each other’s company no matter what community you come from. We are people of Unity when it comes to the 415.”415 Day, in its third year, going strong. A day to appreciate our presence, to play our music, to honor the mere tilt of our heads and gestures we wear proudly as the sons and daughters of Frisco. We bring our neighborhoods with us. We bring out dreams and dreams that never had a chance to breathe. There’s room for us on this day, room at the park, room where we can still plant our dreams and breathe in the fragrance. It was good not to see any mayoral candidates, case managers, landlords, fratboys, anyone on a scooter or those droves that open their mouths to speak, in an attempt to silence us, babbling about all the things they are entitled to yet, in the deluge of words, have nottruly earned a speaking part; those who would talk over our elders and claim Frisco as their own. They have no idea what area code they are in. 415 Day, our day, as black and brown Frisco, of the Frisco heart. As the homeboys and homegirls call out when they hear the word Frisco: Errrraay!!!!!!!!