Lydia Chavez: Mission neighborhood leader and 826 supporter
Lydia Chavez, Founder and Executive Editor of Mission Local, knows the power of writing.
She spent her early career at The New York Times on the business, foreign and city desks and, until last year, was a professor at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. When she moved west to the Mission in 1998, she befriended a Salvadoran family and began tutoring their daughter, helping her to learn English by helping her to write. “But my tutoring wasn’t consistent enough” she says. “I looked around for other resources and found 826 Valencia, a place she could go everyday after school.” And Lydia and her husband Mark Rabine made their first gift to 826 back then too, recognizing immediately the value of the free writing and tutoring programs 826 Valencia made available to neighborhood kids. She’s continued that generous support, both financially and by publishing pieces by 826 students in the pages of Mission Local. “I like to give to places where I know the money is doing something good–places like 826,” she shared.
While we are incredibly grateful for Lydia’s support of our work, we also want to thank and recognize her visionary leadership in creating and sustaining a trusted, reliable local news source. Mission Local has been a stalwart source of important stories about the impact of COVID-19 on the Mission community, where it has disproportionately impacted Latinx families and essential workers. Her staff has been working tirelessly, “translating everything”–from public health announcements to school instructions–into Spanish for her neighbors. “This is more than journalism, it’s a public service.”