Gente De Tu Barrio
Artist: Victor De La Rosa
Date of Action: September 2015
Region: North America
Location: San Francisco, United States of America
Confronting Bodies: San Francisco Bay Area Transit Authority
Description of Artwork: La Gente De Tu Barrio / The People of Your Neighborhood [The Mission Suite], by Victor De la Rosa, engages the subject of gentrification of the San Francisco Mission neighborhood by featuring four local residents and their statements on four textile panels.
A panel featuring a photo of local resident Micky "Tiny Loca" Martinez prominently states, "Bitch, you're not from here!" in bold typeface. Each panel has a border of typed contrasts, such as "Us Vs. Them" and "Pour-Over Vs. Nescafe."
The Incident: De La Rosa was commissioned by the City of San Francisco in February 2015 to create artwork regarding the Mission neighborhood. His panels were intended to be placed in the plaza at the BART 16th St. Mission station in September 2015.
However, the Bay Area Transit Authority (BART) rejected the "Tiny Loca" panel due to the use of the word "bitch" and confrontational tone. The agency stated they were still developing a public art policy and held the work to the standards of their advertising policy. Blurring the word "bitch" was rejected by BART because they stated it would not revise the "overall demeaning tone of the message in that panel." De la Rosa would not have participated in any edits.
BART offered to feature the other three panels, but De la Rosa refused, viewing the contested panel as integral to the work. In late October, De la Rosa and supporters placed copies of the contested panel on plaza display cases and spoke with locals.
On December 4, 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the National Coalition Against Censorship submitted a letter to BART, arguing the refusal to place the "Tiny Loca" panel was viewpoint discrimination and contrary to the First Amendment.
Results of Incident: As of December 2015, BART refuses to place the "Tiny Loca" panel.