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Adriana Camarena (San Francisco) collaborating with Acción Latina (San Francisco)

Award: $40,000 Literary Arts Grant awarded in 2017

To be presented: Over 24 months, 2017-2019

Adriana Camarena is collaborating with Acción Latina to create and distribute “Unsettled/Inquietos,” a series of literary non-fiction essays based on portraits of working class and poor residents of the traditionally Latino Mission District of San Francisco. The pieces will be published in English and Spanish over a two-year period in the newspaper El Tecolote, a free, biweekly, print and online newspaper that is produced by Acción Latina. Since 2008, Adriana Camarena has been collecting oral histories of Mission District residents and developing narratives that reflect seldom-heard voices and working class sensibilities, ethnic and immigrant cultures, and the neighborhood sense of place. This project will continue Camarena’s prior work produced in literary non-fiction essay format and based on neighborhood interviews and research.

Acción Latina incorporated as a nonprofit in 1987, but its work to promote cultural arts, community media, and civic engagement as a way of building healthy and empowered Latino communities began earlier, in 1970, when a Raza Studies class at San Francisco State University launched the free newspaper El Tecolote (The Owl) to address inadequate coverage of Latino issues in mainstream media. In addition to news coverage, El Tecolote has given many local Latino literary, visual, and performing artists their first media coverage.  It has produced a music festival since 1982 and, in 2000, purchased a building on 24th Street in the heart of the Mission District, where it has developed a gallery and small performance space to showcase established and emerging artists. This project furthers Acción Latina’s work to preserve and promote Latino Culture and adds a new dimension to its widely distributed, free publication.

Photo by Joan Osato, 2016