[free] Paseo Artistico: Somos Esenciales / We Are Essential // SF

SATURDAY June 18th AT 12 PM – 6:30 PM
Paseo Artistico: Somos Esenciales / We Are Essential.
Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, SF. [see locations below].

Paseo Artistico is free for all ages!


Event summary:

Acción Latina presents “Somos Esenciales / We Are Essential”, a bilingual, multimedia performance and research project by local theatermaker Paul S. Flores that celebrates Latino labor and self-determination by sharing stories of Latinx essential workers with City health workers and policy makers.

Paseo Artistico is hosting the performance during its regular free bilingual community art stroll on 24th Street in the Latino Cultural District, including a special presentation at the Mission Food Hub located at 701 Alabama Street on Saturday June 18, 2022. The entire Paseo event takes place from 12-6pm at multiple venues. More info at




12PM — “Ghostly Labor: A Dance Film,” Performed by La Mezcla, Co-Directed by John Jota Leaños & Vanessa Sanchez – BRAVA CABARET – 2781 24th St. (@York) – Indoors.

1PM — Shaping San Francisco History Tour Walk & Talk about Mission food industry past – Meet at MISSION FOOD HUB – 701 Alabama St (at 19th) – Outdoors

2PM – Calle 24 Health Promotores Health Presentation w/ Live Music by Maya Canales
CALLE 24 OFFICE – 3250 24th St (@Capp St.) Outdoors.

3PM – Youth Speaks Poets – PRECITA EYES MURALISTS – 2981 24th Street (@Harrison St.).


Mission Food Hub events:

4PM — Somos Esenciales performance featuring Paul S. Flores, with Andreína Maldonado, David Calderon, Jessica Recinos, Claudia Portillo Vergara, Rafael Flores, Adriana Camarena. MISSION FOOD HUB – 701 Alabama Street (@ 19th St.) Indoor/Outdoor.

4:30PM — Short Documentary Film & Publication Presentation by Rafael Flores & Adriana Camarena with Essential Researchers – MISSION FOOD HUB – 701 Alabama St. (@19th St.) Indoor/Outdoor

5PM — Discussion with Policy Makers MISSION FOOD HUB – 701 Alabama St. (@19th St) Indoor / Outdoor

5:30PM — Francisco Herrera and band and ceviche reception– MISSION FOOD HUB 701 Alabama (at 19th St) Indoor/Outdoor.


About event.

Written and directed by playwright and performer Paul S. Flores, “Somos Esenciales” explores the stories of Latinx essential workers during what City of San Francisco Health Director Grant Colfax called the “Latinx Pandemic,” referring to when 80% of COVID infections were from the Latino community.

Flores and local researcher and writer Adriana Camarena led a year-long research project with 14 volunteers at the Mission Food Hub about Latinx self-determination and mental health impact during COVID. Filmmaker Rafael Flores documented their stories, which Paul Flores has turned into monologues to be interpreted by local artists for the community in an excerpt performance.

“As a Latino poet and playwright based in the Mission District, one of my strongest motivations for this project is to dramatize the living conditions of an essential yet invisible workforce that keeps San Francisco economically and culturally afloat,” says Flores. “The beautiful cultural practices such as food pathways, classic cars and lowriders, Danza Azteca, graphic arts, music, murals, and traditional spiritual practices are medicine for us during the pandemic and are integrated into the everyday lives of volunteer workers at the Mission Food Hub whom I have been working with. We are interested in how cultural practices can improve mental health during the pandemic.”

A facilitated conversation will highlight a research project by Spanish Speaking Mission Food Hub volunteers, including the artists, as well as health professionals and City Policy makers including Dr. Lisa Fortuna, Chief of Psychiatry at Zuckerberg SF General Hospital, Hilary Kunins, Director of Behavioral Health services, DPH, and Joshua Arce, Director of Workforce Development for the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), Roberto Hernandez, Director of MISSION FOOD HUB will be led by researcher Adriana Camarena to discuss published recommendations to improve Latinx health outcomes. Venezuelan dancer and performer Andreina Maldonado, musician Francisco Herrera, spoken word artist David Calderon, cellist Claudia Portillo, percussionist Pedro Gomez, Manolo Davila, filmmaker Rafael Flores and other artists will also present at the Mission Food Hub from 4PM-6PM.

Flores began working on Somos Esenciales in the Fall of 2020 during local organizing efforts demanding the City to fund sick leave and rent rescue for immigrant domestic workers and day laborers who lost livelihood due to the pandemic. With grant support from the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC) and the Southwest Folklife Alliance, Flores approached Roberto Hernandez at the Mission Food Hub with a proposal to document Latinx laborers and share their experiences with City administration and the Department of Health. Flores partnered with Acción Latina, publisher of El Tecolote Bilingual Newspaper, and writer Adriana Camarena to conduct a community investigation about the lack of adequate mental health and wellness services for Latinx essential workers and monolingual immigrant laborers.

Paseo Artistico will begin on 24th Street at participating cultural venues and feature Teen poets from Youth Speaks at Precita Eyes, dancer Vanessa Sanchez’s and John Leaños’ project “Ghostly Labor” in homage to farmworkers at Brava Theater, as well as Calle 24 Health Promotores in collaboration with local musicians, and a history walk of the Mission’s Food History led by Shaping San Francisco. The event will shift to the Mission Food Hub on 19th and Alabama at 4pm for Somos Esenciales performance and discussion.

Press Contact: 415-648-1045

To learn more about the Participatory Action Research Process of Somos Esenciales
go here:




See video:


Paul S. Flores creates plays and oral narratives that spur and support societal movements that lead to change. Flores’s play “On The Hill: I Am Alex Nieto” brought San Francisco communities together divided by gentrification and police violence.

As a San Francisco artist of Mexican and Cuban-American heritage, Flores has built a national reputation for interview-based theater integrating Latino and indigenous healing practices to tell the stories of real people impacted by immigration and systemic inequalities. His comprehensive body of work touches on the immigrant story in all its complexities: from the violent—forced migration, gang life, war, incarceration and separated families—to intergenerational relationships and preserving important cultural values. Paul S. Flores is a Southwest Folklife Alliance PAR Fellow and recipient of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture Catalyst for Change Grant.



Adriana Camarena (she/her) is a Mexican writer, researcher and community organizer in San Francisco. Through a decade-long multi-disciplinary project called “Unsettled in the Mission,” she has documented the stories and histories of Latinx peoples and other traditional residents of the Mission District of San Francisco to capture the sense of place of this working class, now gentrified, neighborhood. Camarena is involved in anti-police brutality work, currently with Justice for Luis Góngora Pat, who was a beloved Mayan father, brother and son, killed by SFPD in April 2016. During the pandemic, she deepened her understanding of the struggles of the immigrant Latinx community of San Francisco, through research collaborations with El Tecolote/ Acción Latina and Mujeres Hacia El Conocimiento, and as a PAR Fellow of the Southwest Folklife Alliance. Learn more about her work at



Acción Latina is a nonprofit organization founded in 1970 that is dedicated to promoting cultural arts, community media and civic engagement as a way of building healthy and empowered Latino communities. Our programming includes Publishing a free, award-winning bilingual newspaper, El Tecolote which offers ongoing, on-the-job training in community journalism to scores of young adults and community residents each year; Sponsoring year-round literary and performing arts events such as the Encuentro del Canto Popular and the Encuentritos concert series, the Roque Dalton tribute poetry night, various Litquake events, and more;

Operating the Juan R. Fuentes Gallery, which seeks to showcase visual artwork that reflects the nuances of Latino life and themes; Producer of the Paseo Artistico community art stroll series that brings free arts programing—music, poetry, crafts workshops, readings, film and mural tours—to the 24th Street Latino Cultural District every other second Saturday of the month.

Managing a diverse collection of archival materials that document the history of the social struggles and artistic movements of San Francisco’s Mission District in particular, and of San Francisco in general, from 1970 to the present. We are located in the heart of San Francisco’s historic Mission District, in the area now designated as the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District.

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