Francisco Herrera’s -short- Biography.
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Francisco Herrera for Mayor of San Francisco 2015
Singer Songwriter, Musican, Educator
Recording Artist and Producer, 1972- present
Spanish/English Interpreter – group facilitator/community Organizer 1985 – present
Community Educator – 1980-present
Francisco Herrera is a Cultural Worker and Community Educator. My Discipline in Cultural Work is as a singer/songwriter. As such I bring together the arts, with mental heath work poltical science and community organizing skills and hold a Masters in Theological Studies from the Jesuit School of Theology of the University of Santa Clara.
His musical and community education work has lead him across the country and around the continent working with Community agencies, Labor Union leadership and Rank and File members, dealing with the most pressing issues of our times, from solutions to houselessness, to original people’s rights and immigration policy. He has participated in the founding of San Francisco’s Day Labor Program bringing him in close work with Supervisors of the county over the last thirty years, presently with Supervisors Avalos, Mar and Campos, but worked and is supported by current supervisorial candidat Aaron Peskin, former assemblyman Tom Ammiano as well agencies like Catholic Charities of San Francisco and the East Bay, The Archdiocese of San Francisco’s social concerns commission and Restorative Justice Program, as well as mental health work with agencies like the Homeless Children’s Network, which brings together 38 agencies finding solutions with families facing threat or the reality of houselessness throughout the city, and La Raza Centro Legal. Francisco Works with veterans groups organizing against the terror that is war and policies to end war and prohibition issues like the illusion of “war on drugs”
Francisco has been very active in child-rearing, helping raise four children who went through the public education system in San Francisco and now grown up are active and productive members of the communities in which they reside, playing life-giving roles in the arts, education, sciences, politics. In the face of electoral politics it might seem Francisco has little experience, however digging deeper one discovers his father played an important role as council member, Mayor and active leadership in his home town of Calexico Califronia, border with Mexicali, Baja California Norte, where he grew up and was active civically and politically since the age of 10. Those formative years were important, particularly teaching him to negotiate a multicultural rality among Jewish, Arabic, Chinese, Mexican and European American communities, handling a mixture of languages and froms of speach straddling two countries. Mexicali is a city of 1.5 million people and Calexico a small city of 30 thousand, I had the best of both worlds, moving across borders, languages. However, Francisco did not just come north from Calexico, in the process he has engaged some of the grewiling realities of Foreigh Policy, as he served assisting refugees of wars, sponsored by our tax dollars in El Salvador and Guatemala, all the way to Panama and co-founding refugee centers in Tijuana, Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco. He has worked with community based organizing organizations like the internationally known, PICO, the IAF and Gamaleal from the Saul Alinski school of organizing as well as organizing institutes like the Center for Third World Organizing and TIGRA, which has worked for an effective management of remittences going to Latin American, African, Asian and Pacific Island countries from the United States. He has also worked in the East Bay with the Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy as interfaith organizar, specifically lending support in the negotiations community members through Alameda county had withthe Pro Logis corporation now engaged in the former Army base across the bay bridge.
As a Young Jesuit Seminarian he had the fortune of being in relation with Fr. Ed Malatesta who founded the Pacific Rim Institute, based in the University of San Francisco Campus, which educated him in the then emerging impact we were all seeing in the imporatnce the región would be playing, and the role San Francisco playes in that set of relationships. Collaborating with the many departments of USF and San Francisco State, Holy Names University and Santa Clara University has lead hundreds of students through delegrations to war torn áreas of Central America Mexico as well as participated in their student leadership developnent on issues of interantional human rights, economcis and immgration policy.
“My work has been in direct service and in relation with programs offering that service, first as cultural worker and second as mental health worker/educator responding to emergencies like the earthquake of 1989 in San Francisco and Bay Area, attending to community running emergency response and hotline, for example, as well as being co-founder of the Oakland Catholic Worker house (1986), which tended to and help refugees from Mexico and Central America establish themselves in the Bay Area; the San Francisco Day Laborer Program (1989) assisting men and women establish themselves in the City, find gainful employment, facilitate the board of directors and deal with city government to make sure the program survived its first years, and translated the Mental Health Manual, as a founding member of the Coalition to Assist Survivors of War and Tortured Led by Dr. Halbrook Teeter (RIP), among others and Claudia Bernardi, world known Visual Artist who has served in the Argentinian Forensic team that has worked around the world in recovering evidence in places like El Mozote massacre site in El Salvador and most recently helping to identify cadavers in the search for the 43 missing students of Ayotzinapa in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico. My work has been in the context of community:
I have formal training in Political Science (Santa Clara University and Holy Names University, (1987) and Masters in Theological Training from the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, 2002. I studied to be a Catholic Priest in the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Religious Order), 1982-86, which involved work in the Border of Tecate, Tijuana, San Diego as well as phases of work in emergency response and mental health support during the revolutionary war in El Salvador and pastoral/mental health work in Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico from 1985 to the present. I am a professional Spanish/English interpreter, which has allowed me to travel around the continent and participate in peace making efforts throughout Central America, Mexico and part of South America.
As a young man I was deeply impacted as a community member of Christ the King Church on 32 and Imperial in Logan Heights Neighborhood of San Diego and work at Casa de Los Pobres In Tijuana, as well as my early formation years in Calexico, my hometown and Mexicali, where I spent half of my youth and learned much of the music I practiced, during those years at the Escuela de Música “Betoven.” I have lived in San Francisco, since 1988.
In San Francisco, I have been an integral part of the community, raising family and serving as:
Parent 1989 – present
Children’s Musician 2003- present
Hillhaven Senior Center, Human Resources, assistant 1988-89
Parent Liasion and educator with the SFUSD (paid and unpaid) 1989-2005
PIQE establishing a pilot project training parents in the SFUSD 2003-4
Catholic Charities, Emergency Response and Immigrant Rights Organizer 1989, 1996-98
San Francisco Unified School District, Parent Liaison and Trainer 1995-2000
Archdiocese of San Francisco, Religious Education Director, training teachers, 1993-96
The Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Northern California Organizer, 1996-2003
Interfaith Alliance for Worker Justice, now known as the Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy, organizer 20012-14
CLUE, California – Leadership Trainer 2003 – Present
Particularly instructive has been the development of music and the arts in support of families and children who have survived war and torture, working with teachers, clergy, students, academics, politicians, social workers and other cultural workers, since 1980.