SF's Lowrider Council celebrates 40 years of creating change

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hundreds of people filled the streets of the Bay Areas Mission District to admire the past and present of the lowrider experience. The occasion was a celebration of the San Francisco Lowrider Council's 40th anniversary.

"40 years ago, here on Mission Street, we came cruising. The police department, they started citing us and then, they started arresting us," said Lowrider Council Founder and President Roberto Hernandez.

"There was a big dilemma of police brutality in the Mission," said Frisco's Finest Car Club President Vince Mabutas.

"So what we did was we began to get organized. I founded the San Francisco Lowrider Council and we got the right to cruise," said Hernandez. "What is beautiful about that now is that low riding is beyond accepted, but appreciated, respected, and admired."

Over the last four decades, the Lowrider Council has continually prompted change in their community.

"We've been involved in fundraising for schools. We've been part of "Our Mission: NO Eviction" fighting the gentrification," said Hernandez. "and more importantly, during this pandemic, we've been part of the Mission Food Hub. We've done promotions for people to get tested and more recently, we've been doing promotions to get people vaccinated."

The celebration also included an exhibit at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.

"It's a retrospect and historically documents the struggle that began forty years ago and the organizing of the community for justice, and equity, and to end racism within the police department in San Francisco," said Hernandez. "But most importantly, it showcases all the different car clubs and lowriders that have been part of the history of cruising here in the Mission District."

"It's a way to show who I am," Friscos Finest car club member John Reimoneaq declares pointing to his vehicle, "this is me."

"It's a reflection of who I am in my heart, my soul, my mind," Hernandez echoes.

Each one of these beautifully designed cars serves as an inspiration to a new generation of lowrider admirers.

"Hopefully the new generation will keep it up and they can go for another forty years," San Pancho Car Club President Renato Gonzalez shares.