Acción Latina incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1987, but our work serving Latinos in San Francisco through community media and cultural arts programming began long before that.
El Tecolote newspaper, our organization’s cornerstone media project, began as a journalism project in a Raza Studies class at San Francisco State University under the direction of Professor Juan Gonzales. The class produced a bilingual newspaper, which they named El Tecolote (The Owl). In 1982, our then-grassroots group, run entirely by volunteers, produced the first Encuentro del Canto Popular, a three-day music festival highlighting the musical genre of Nueva Canción from Latin America.
Recognizing the important role of Acción Latina within San Francisco’s Latino community, in 1987 the James Irvine Foundation awarded our organization a two-year grant to help build our organizational infrastructure. In that year, we incorporated as a nonprofit organization, developed our first formal strategic plan and hired our first executive director.
In 2000, after years of careful planning, we purchased a building on 24th Street in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, in the area now designated as the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District. And in late 2015, we opened a brand new art gallery, the Juan R. Fuentes Gallery, to showcase the diversity of visual art forms—ceramics, watercolor, sculpture, photography, poster art—created by established and emerging Latino/a artists.