By Mike Kinney
Face masks are in high-demand as public health officials urge the public to wear them in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. But these ones being produced in Richmond are playing the additional roles of promoting peace and supporting at-risk youth.
Bay Area Peacekeepers, a Richmond nonprofit supporting at-risk youth since 2005, has unveiled a clothing line promoting its mission and vision called “Bay Love Clothing.”
Proceeds from sales of the masks will support BAP’s at-risk youth programming, according to Gonzalo Rucobo, who co-founded BAP along with Valerie Arce-Estrada. BAP works with hundreds of kids throughout the year at school sites. BAP was also recently behind a lowrider tribute to Richmond High students who can’t have a traditional graduation ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rucobo said the organization began producing facial masks to meet the shortage.
“When the facial masks came out, we had big support coming from the staff at Richmond’s Kaiser-Permanente Hospital” who supported the alternative vision of promoting peace and opportunity for local youth, Rucobo said.
BAP decided to expand the Bay Love Clothing concept to include hoodies, tank-tops, tee-shirts and baseball hats. Gonzalo turned to his longtime friend, Leftside Printing owner Diego Garcia, to assist on design and production of the line. Garcia, in fact, designed the original BAP logo in 2008.
“I shared the concept of the new BAP logo and ‘Bay Love’ gear with Diego and his son Raul. They took the concept and design to the next level,” Rucobo said.
Producing masks is needed. They are “not going anywhere soon” due to the pandemic, Garcia said.