The sound of drumming pierces the quiet morning air and encircles the schoolyard. The dancers begin to move, bouncing and shaking to the beat. It’s a Saturday morning and more than 100 people have gathered at John O’Connell High School in San Francisco’s Mission District to dance, drum, and stilt walk in preparation for San Francisco’s annual Carnaval parade.
They are members of Loco Bloco, a Mission District-based nonprofit that uses the arts to help empower youth of color. The group feels like one big family – kids as young as three, teenagers, and adults perform side-by-side each week at practices that started in February. In May, they will perform at Carnaval, eager to honor and showcase their community in San Francisco.