There's little Roberto Hernandez hasn't been involved in around the Mission over the past four decades. "One thing the Mayans taught me is that we're here to visit the earth. So what are you going to do with your visit?" Hernandez says.
He's an artist whose paintings portray aspects of Mayan culture.
He's the founder of the San Francisco Lowrider Council, a member
of the Mission Merchants Association and the executive director of Carnaval. He is working on a five-year plan with the Mission Peace Collaborative, a coalition of neighborhood organizations, to end
gun and gang violence in the Mission.
He also has pushed for the establishment of a downtown Mexican Museum and has served as the director of several community-based organizations, among them the now-defunct Real Alternatives Program, which guided at-risk youths, including Hernandez himself as a teen.
On a typical day, Hernandez runs from one appointment to the next - showing up in court to support someone fighting eviction, meeting with other community leaders on gang and gun violence, mapping out the Carnaval route, training the next generation of Carnaval organizers.
At a merchants gathering on a recent weekday at the Latin American Club on 22nd Street, San Francisco police Cmdr. Bob Moser, the former Mission Station police captain recently appointed to oversee the Investigations Division, commended Hernandez for his work to end violence."Roberto, thank you for all the work you've done at Mission Station," Moser said to applause.
Roberto Hernandez ... A man of many hats