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WEB SPECIAL: Incite.../Insight! Free Monthly Film Series

War & Migration

In War and Migration, Camarena explores the history of war and displacement in the Mission from its earliest Spanish invasion, the Mexican-American War, Central American wars, and now the Drug War that have provoked migration fluxes into California.

    “Gangs” an extract from an essay titled “The Geography of the Unseen” previously published in Rebecca Solnit’s INFINITE CITY: A San Francisco Atlas (UC Press, 2010).

The Corrido of El Cabe

This is the Corrido of El Cabe, a scoundrel, addict, and migrant worker, native of Guadalajara. There wasn’t any border he wouldn’t cross, nor any law he wouldn’t break, guided only by the principle of compassion for migrant compañeros on the road. El Cabe doesn’t expect to be long in the world, “Write my story”, he pled, “before my toes curl up in my shoes”.¿Dónde está El Cabe? Solo él sabe… (Where is El Cabe? Only he knows.) May El Santo Niño de Atocha (Holy Christ Child of Atocha), patron saint of travelers, the abandoned, and the unjustly imprisoned, watch over him.

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The Corrido of El Cabe

Audio recording of reading performed by Adriana Camarena at Public Talks Series, Shaping San Francisco, on October 16th, 2013.

Mission Spirits: A Mission District Photo Essay


From “The Geography of the Unseen”, 2010

Frank remembers how it used to be. “The Mission—this madness—there weren’t gangs like this when I was growing up. It was just about neighborhoods. You had Shotwell and 24th; Capp to Mission on 24th; Precita Park; Little Time Mission, which were the junior high kids; and Mission, which were the older guys; Happy Homes on 20th and Mission; 22nd Hogs; York and Hampshire at 24th. . . . Sure, we’d have fights, but we used to play each other in football. It was more a sports thing. It was friendly but physical. After the game, we’d drink together. . . . These days, people don’t fight, they shoot. It’s silly.”

Today, the Norteños claim territory roughly between Mission Street and Potrero, from 20th to 26th, with an extension to just past Dolores on 24th, 25th and 26th streets. To the north, the Sureños carved out a niche for themselves approximately between Dolores and South Van Ness, from 16th Street to 22nd Street, with an extension to Potrero Street (Jackson Park) on 16th and 17th. In the Mission, the Sureños joined forces with the MS-13, a Central American gang, to increase their land holding. On a map, Sureño territory is north of Norteño territory. The magnetic poles are inverted in ganglands.”

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