SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - A mural featuring celebrated former labor leader Cesar Chavez was vandalized in San Francisco's Mission District Tuesday night.
It is the third mural to be vandalized in the Mission in the past few weeks.
The latest mural was painted more than 20 years on York and 24th streets by artist Carlos Gonzalez,
The tags appear to be gang related.
"My first reaction is anger. Art is for everybody," said Gonzalez.
Ironically, Gonzalez spent many years as a juvenile probation officer working to get young people away from gangs.
The mural was meant to show people who made a difference in their communities.
"A mirror on the community as well as a spotlight on revolutionary heroes to inspire the people who see it," he said.
Gonzalez says the eagle in the mural is a symbol of the United Farm Workers. But it has been adopted by a street gang, making a rival gang angry.
"Many of he kids on the opposite side tend to see red literally when they see it and cross it out," said Gonzalez.
But especially disturbing to many in the Mission is that this is the third mural in the neighborhood that's been defaced this month.
About two weeks ago vandals used white paint to damage a mural featuring musician Carlos Santanta on 19th and Mission streets.
Just before that vandals struck an anti-gentrification mural in Clarion Alley.
Many residents believe the first two are racist and don't appear related to the latest vandalism which appears gang related.
"It is definitely disturbing icons like Cesar Chavez and Carlos Santana ae getting disrespected like that," said Mission resident Miles Jenkins.
Gonzalez says he would like to find those responsible for the damage to the Chavez mural.
"We need to educate these people on what the murals mean, what they stand for," said Gonzalez.
The artist says he and others who originally worked on the mural will be out here next week to restore it. He says he hopes that next time people will leave it alone.