SF Honors Mario de Mira, Cultural Worker for API Heritage Month
Mario de Mira aka Nomi of the hip-hop group Power Struggle has spent many years touring with groups like Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Dela Soul, and DJ Shadow. He has shared the stage with Souls of Mischief and Snoop Dogg and has received critical acclaim for his albums “Arson at the Petting Factory”and “Remittances”.
Mario was born in Auchi, Nigeria after his Father who was a doctor and Mother who was a nurse was recruited from the Philippines to serve as health care professionals in a Nigerian hospital. His family immigrated to the U.S. in 1984 when the political turmoil worsened in Nigeria and the Philippines.
As a youth, Mario was raised in various working-class neighborhoods in St. Paul Minnesota, where a mix of people and cultures influenced him. A diverse hip-hop community of Southeast Asian, African American, and Native American youth, helped shape his perspective on what it means to be a man of color from a working–class community, and how to use hip-hop as a tool to share the stories of silenced communities.
In 2005, Mario eventually settled in San Francisco where who continued to work on his music but also became involved in community organizing and advocacy work.
Shortly after moving to San Francisco, Mario started volunteering at the Filipino Community Center where he worked with migrant youth on projects that addressed violence prevention, cultural identity, leadership development, and creative writing.
In 2009, he joined the staff of the FCC, where he developed programs to help low-income families find employment, while also educating them on their rights as workers. These programs have helped marginalized workers in the community fight wage-theft (and other forms of exploitation), and also helped many find sustainable employment. Before working at the FCC, Mario was a basic laborer, who worked in various fields from light manufacturing, manual labor and also the service industry. His experience as a worker has helped him relate to the issues that affect so many disenfranchised workers in the community. Recently, he helped organize Migrante, a Filipino group fighting for workers and immigrant rights, and actively workers with the Progressive Worker’s Alliance.
Nomi also just graduated from City College and has just been accepted to the Labor Studies Program at San Francisco State where he hopes to deepen his knowledge and understanding of the labor movement and workers’ struggles.