By Mike Kinney
The lowrider community and other truck, car and motorcycle clubs cruised 23rd Street in Richmond on Sunday in order to celebrate family and promote a safer community. Families lined 23rd Street in a display of multicultural unity and peace.
Lowrider events held here during the late 1970s and 1980s were all about families coming together to enrich communities, said Sal Garcia, one of the volunteer coordinators for the Cruise the Main event.
“We all grew up as family during those times,” Garcia said. “We want the younger generation to understand about community pride and unity.”
Saturday’s event featured dozens of auto clubs from Richmond and also throughout the Bay Area. The event is occurring in the wake of a rash of gun violence in Richmond and surrounding communities.
“There are hundreds of cars and trucks here today that are dedicated to promoting the values of peace here on the streets of Richmond,” Garcia said. “That’s what cruising the 23rd Street Main is all about.”
Jose Alguilar, member of Richmond Excandalow Car Club, noted the need for adults to set a positive example for younger generations, “to have fun, display unity, and show there is no need for drama.”
“This is about history and we are an intergenerational community event that promotes families at these gatherings,” added Goldy Rogers, co-founder of Richmond Boyz Car Club.
Charles Cox said his father was a low-rider in Richmond in the 1970s.
“Many of us here had parents who were in the low-riding scene and we continue that legacy,” Cox said.
Carlos Perez came dressed in 1940s style Zoot suit clothing. The 20-year-old Richmond resident said, ” I really get excited at being at these types of community gatherings there is a lot of history here. For my people it is this history that shapes us.”
Rosie Martinez was among some 20 female solo riders who cruised 23rd Street with her circle of friends from Richmond.
“Today my own family, which consists of my 89-year-old Grandmother, my parents, my own kids and other family members will be celebrating peace and unity among all of the citizens of Richmond,” Martinez said.
Her family served up free snacks to community members who came to their table, which always leads to fun conversation.
“We all have to do our part to make a difference to continue to make Richmond a safer community for families and our youth,” Martinez said. “We begin that change by having events like this that promote both unity and peace.”
Gonzalo Rucobo, founder of Bay Area Peace Keepers, which works with high-risk youth and young adults locally, served as the “Cruisin’ for Peace DJ” at the event. He was located at the corner of 23rd Street and Andrade Ave.
“All the music I have been playing today is about uniting the community with positive vibes,” Rucobo said. “I have been playing soul, funk and oldies from the 1950s to the 1980s. I was really excited about bringing my music to this community event. This not a Latino event, it is an event that brings everybody from the community together in unity and peace.”
Music wasn’t the only artform present. Internationally known Richmond artist and cartoonist David Gonzales attended. The creator of the legendary “Homies,” the two-inch plastic figurines depicting characters of ‘homeboys’ that he grew up with, was swamped by fans seeking to his autograph and selfie photos with him
The two-inch plastic figurines were all the rage in the 1990s which could be purchased for 25 cents from gumball machines. He has sold over a 150 million of the ‘Homies’ figurines.
“I grew up in Richmond. I went to school at the old Harry Ellis High School and I eventually graduated from DeAnza High School in 1978,” Gonzales stated: “It was so nostalgic my coming back here today, the memories of Richmond have always been so important to me.”
A car show is planned at Richmond Civic Center on Saturday, Aug. 28, according to Garcia.