By Eduardo Morales, Ph.D.
I want to start my column in this new year to acknowledge and honor Latinx persons who are making wonderful contributions to our community and our city and county. Erick Arguello is an exceptional leader whose contributions are numerous and impactful. He is very forthright, collaborative and focuses on bringing together other leaders and concerned citizens for causes that are import to them and to our communities. Notably, Erick led the effort to have the South Mission District become the Calle 24 the Latino Cultural District for San Francisco. He effectively brough together business owners, residents, the San Francisco Latino Historical Society, San Francisco Heritage, community leaders and then Supervisor David Campos to petition to have the South Mission declared a Latino Cultural District in the city and county of San Francisco. He also led the formation of Calle 24 Latino Cultural District as a nonprofit organization and is their current present on the board. His strategy for leading the formation of the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District has been acknowledged as a model for other groups to use. Some awards given to him include the 2018 San Francisco Tenants Union Community Ally, 2014 San Francisco Latino Heritage Award, 2014 Cesar E. Chavez Legacy Award, KQED 2011 Latino Heritage Month Local Hero Award, was the LGBTQ Individual Community Grand Marshall for the SF LGBTQ+ Parade in 2008 among many others.
Since 1994 Erick Arguello worked/volunteered at AGUILAS, an HIV prevention program currently located in the SF LGBT Center in San Francisco. As Program Director he helped developed office policies and procedures, helped to maintain the program participant database, initiated, and executed agreements among a cross-sector of agencies, organized community forums to address HIV/AIDS funding, services, stigma, and support services for Latinx persons. In 1998 he became the Volunteer Manager at AGUILAS and successfully created the organization’s Volunteer Engagement Program recruiting over 175 volunteers and producing its policies and procedures. These policies and procedures were selected by the Centers for Disease Control as a standard for all south peninsula agencies. He published the AGUILAS newsletters and facilitated the volunteer orientations and staff trainings for the agency. In 2008 He became Program Manager at AGUILAS where he managed the day-to-day operations of the agency ensure culturally competent programs and protocols the promote health and well-being, fostering positive self-identities and health y relationships among Latinx gay/bisexual men. As program manager he managed staff, ensured the program was meeting its goals and objects for HIV/STI testing and the various prevention interventions offered by AGUILAS.
In 2019 he accepted a position at GLIDE as Community Engagement and Volunteer Program Manager under the Center for Social Justice working closely with other departments to build collaboration, and support systems that would integrate and streamline volunteer engagement across departs. He developed and updated internal policies for the agency, conducted outreach and engagement with other service providers and agencies, managed staff and built the data system for implementation and improvements of the volunteer services. In 2020 he was promoted to being GLIDE’s Community Engagement Manager representing GLIDE in over 10 local coalitions and community groups while addressing issues around COVID-19, housing, hunger, and water access for the unhoused. In 2022 he was made Advocacy Manage for GLIDE building its internal advocacy systems to mobilize city wide. He provided trainings around housing and land use to marginalized persons and people of color to lift the voices of marginalized communities at hearings, marches, and rallies. Through this role he worked with coalition allies to assist and build community power and engagement.
Through his mild mannered and collaborative style, he is extremely effective in having persons work together for a common cause and become impactful with concrete outcomes. It was a privilege to work with Erick while he was at AGUILAS. If you ever have a chance to work and collaborate with Erick Arguello, I am sure you will find the experience quite gratifying and beneficial. San Francisco is very lucky to have Erick Arguello who keeps his focus on those with great need and who are marginalized. He is one of the active founding members of United to Save the Mission, Our Mission No Eviction and is a member of the Race and Equity in all Planning Coalition.