¡Que Viva Mexico y Viva Frida!
Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is getting a street named after her in San Francisco. The street—which is home to the City College of San Francisco—is currently named after former San Francisco Mayor James Phelan.
Kahlo first visited the city in 1940 with her husband, artist Diego Rivera. Many of the blocks of the Bay Area are home to her murals, and some of her original art can be seen in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The street will be known as Frida Kahlo Way, and the change is expected to happen in the next couple of weeks.
“At a time when the country is rethinking who deserves to have statues and parks named after them, having a street named after someone whose family left a legacy of racism doesn’t reflect our values,” City College English professor Alisa Messer told the San Francisco Examiner.
Many see this act as a way of clapping back against the anti-immigrant sentiment held by the former mayor. During Phelan’s time running the city, he pushed the idea of Japanese exclusion and believed that Asians were “vermin” who were incapable of assimilating into American culture. He went on to become a United States senator in 1915 and ran on the campaign promise to “Keep California White.”
California has been on the frontline of resistance against the Trump administration’s immigration policies, serving as a sanctuary state and filing two dozen lawsuits against the federal government. The Department of Justice recently fired back with a lawsuit filed against the state on Tuesday for continuing to enforce sanctuary laws that protect immigrants.
This small change in San Francisco is reflective of the state’s overall efforts to push back and send a clear message: Immigrants make America great.