In San Francisco’s Mission District, a massive new mural of Amilcar Lopez Perez, a Guatemalan immigrant teenager who was killed by police officers, honors the life of the late young man and reminds passersby of the intensifying police violence against Black and Latino communities.
Alto al Fuego en La Misón (Ceasefire in the Mission) is a vibrant mural standing two stories tall on the southern side of Calle 24’s headquarters at 3250 24th St., the largest public art piece to be painted along the city’s Latino Cultural Corridor in a decade.
The mural is a joint project directed and designed by Carla Elana Wojczuk with Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth (HOMEY), the Justice4Amilcar Coalition, Mission community, Lucia Gonzalez Ippolito and Flavia Elisa Mora, and it was painted by artists Carla Elana Wojczuk, González Ippolito, Cristian Muñoz, Anna Lisa Escobedo, Adrianna Adams, Elisa More, Pancho Pescador and Sonia G Molina. It most prominently features Lopez Perez, who was fatally shot by law enforcement officers in plainclothes on February 26, 2015. Craig Tiffe and Eric Reboli, the officers involved in his death, weren’t charged for the killing.
Below the portrait of Lopez Perez, who is painted wearing a San Francisco Giants hat, are hands raised as several guns are pointed at them. Amid the Guatemalan landscape and the San Francisco cityscape, which pay tribute to the late teen’s bicultural identity, there is also a painting of him and his family.
However, the piece includes other Black and Latino victims of state violence as well. There is an altar-like section with votive candles, and each label portrays another person who lost their life to law enforcement, including police officers and Border Patrol agents, or while under Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) supervision.
“We really wanted to connect different kinds of law enforcement violence … at the border specifically, and the treatment of immigrants as a community,” Dyana Delfin-Polk, associate director of HOMEY, told SF Weekly.
Some of the victims portrayed in the mural include Mario Woods and Alex Nieto, who were both shot by police officers; Roxana Hernandez, a trans woman from Honduras who died in ICE custody; Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez, who was shot by a Border Patrol agent; and Oscar and Valeria Martinez Hernandez, who died while journeying to the U.S., among others.
While the “bright and colorful” piece has received praise from the community, Anna Lisa Escobedo, one of the lead painters for the mural, told the news outlet that many have pointed out that several victims are missing from the project — an observation that forces all to consider the grim reality of police brutality.
“That was the hardest part,” she told SF Weekly. “From the community, a lot of people were saying, ‘We are missing this person, this person, this person.’ We could do five more murals and focus on people who had the same circumstances, and that is sad.”