My Mission Blood: Tales From The Block!

My Mission Blood: Tales from the Block! is a collaboration with residents born and bred in the Mission District of San Francisco. Contributors sent an old photo of themselves on Mission streets, with a caption. The photos provide insight into the visual and narrative streetscapes that these residents built block-by-block. With pain, we see their sense of place being exploited, eroded, and erased by real estate speculation and gentrification. This project honors the characters of this vanishing immigrant, working class, multi-ethnic, predominantly Latino neighborhood. In particular, we see the gentes who inhabited this land in the past half-century. Come reminisce corner-by-corner, and remember to go low-and-slow!

Find all the My Mission Blood block-by-block slideshows on flickr! So far, we’ve started Harrison & 24th, 22nd & Harrison (aka 22nd Hogs,) 22nd& York, Bryant & 21st, Varrio Precita Park, and Shotwell Street (1000 block)! Let’s add your block, we don’t take sides! This is ol’ skool block pride. It’s a block party!

22nd Hogs, Photo submitted by Henry Murillo Jimenez
22nd Hogs, Photo submitted by Henry Murillo Jimenez


Oscar & Antoinette (2014)
Oscar & Antoinette (2014)

My Mission Blood is the brainchild of Antoinette Rios, Oscar Salinas, and Adriana Camarena. The three met at the funeral mass for Alex Nieto.  Waiting in church, Oscar explained that among people from the Mission there is a Silent Code “… that when anyone falls in the Mission, we all come together. We all have each other’s back and their families’.”

Adriana then asked Antoinette if she was also from the neighborhood. Antoinette said, “I grew up on Harrison and 24th! I can prove it. I have a pony picture!” The pony picture is Antoinette’s badge of honor. She holds on to that picture nearly 50 years later.

Antoinette Rios, May 10, 1968, Harrison Street & 25th, Mission District
Antoinette Rios, May 10, 1968, Harrison Street & 25th, Mission District

When Antoinette and Oscar had their first conversation over Philz coffee, they wondered how it was that both having strong roots in the Mission, they met until 2011?! Antoniette egged Oscar on, “Prove it! Where’s you’re pony picture?” Oscar grew up close to Precita Park until his home burnt down in a fire. He thought he had lost his pony picture to the flames, but in the process of carrying out this project HE FOUND IT in a box about to be thrown out by family. (Check it out on My Mission Blood flickr collection.)

Oscar Salinas with family and friends, Precita Ave. near Shotwell St.
Oscar Salinas with family and friends, Precita Ave. near Shotwell St.

Adriana doesn’t have a Mission pony picture, not even close! She lives “undocumented” in the Mission. All the same, she hopes to understand what it is like “to be Mission” by talking to neighbors like Antoinette and Oscar. The three come together to remember Mission families and their block bonds.

I’M HELLA ‘OL SKOOL’ MISSION! I want to contribute my picture!

You say you’re from the Mission? Send us your ‘ol skool’ picture to For example:

  • A childhood pony picture!
  • A block team photo
  • A car club photo
  • A family home or front stoop photo
  • Other iconic neighborhood photo

PLEASE INCLUDE the following info:

  • Your first and last name
  • Date picture was taken
  • Location where picture was taken (specific address, or street intersection e.g. Harrison St. & 25th St. or Mission & 19th St.)
  • Names of people in the photo (left to right, top to bottom if there are rows)
  • Brief description/ caption (e.g. what was the occasion?)

Photos will be uploaded to a flickr account for public viewing, but we will not allow downloading, so as to preserve each contributor’s rights to their photos.


Memories and identity are tied to landscape.  To that end, we’ll soon have a few block-by-block biographies.  We go block-by-block because My Mission Blood adore their block! Yeah, you do.

If you have a story about growing up in the Mission or being from the Mission that you think needs to be told, write to Adriana Camarena at She’ll buy you coffee and listen.