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Recently, two artists from the Pilsen neighborhood — Hector Duarte and Gabriel Villa — created a mural to fight against gentrification in their community. These artists wanted to shine a light on the investor that would come into their homes and slowly weed out members of the community. It is a reference to an artist named Mario Castillo, who created one of the first murals in the Pilsen that was later a part of the Chicano Movement.
The mural was created as a reminder to those who stay in Pilsen that they are here to stay. All of these factors show that the mural has a deeper meaning and is a moral compass for those encouraging gentrification. This movement shines a light on not only Hispanic/Latinx communities but on all low-income neighborhoods and it sends an important message.
It is also a symbol of peace. The mural represents everything they want their neighborhood to be. The symbolic image has a tornado that shows it “sweeping away” from traditional Mexican culture. There is also a family holding hands with firmly rooted trees. All of these things have an important meaning such as residents sticking together and being firmly rooted in their community.
The mural helps the residents to not give in and take a stand for what is right because the “invader” will not care nearly as much as those from the community. Thousands of people lose their homes due to gentrification each year. This causes problems such as more diseases being spread, racial displacement, loss of cultural diversity, etc. The Pilsen community has set an example by being a strong neighborhood and valuing family over money.
The Pilsen neighborhood is not the only community facing these issues; so is Logan square. They faced gentrification head-on by selling buildings and houses for less than their appraised prices. This takes a lot on the owners’ part to miss out on money for the well-being of their community. The Logan Square community has also formed its own organizations aimed at making its communities an affordable place for all.
Due to all their efforts, they have successfully avoided gentrification in their area. Which led to positive outcomes such as lower property taxes and property trust. Logan Square has lost more than 20,000 Latinx families while white communities have grown by 12,000 people and more. Community Land Trust is used to help those with low income be able to stay in the area. This not only benefits those in the community now but also those in the community in the future. Therefore, setting an example for all low-income neighborhoods and helping preserve their future.
The effect of gentrification is a very negative one and does not benefit low-income neighborhoods at all. Gentrification causes more problems and has a negative effect on society. The communities mentioned have shown a way to avoid these problems and set an example for similar neighborhoods.
The Pilsen neighborhood has a symbolic mural reminding the residents(especially those who are owners in the community) to not give in to the “invader” to preserve the community. While the Logan Square neighborhood has created organizations and made smart choices to benefit their area. These communities have shown how they are anti-gentrification by property land trust, selling buildings for less the price, etc. The Pilsen community and Logan Square neighborhood have changed for the better. They were able to lower property taxes and help their community stand strong. They chose to stand for anti-gentrification.
Written by Alexandria Figures
Chicago Sun-times: Hector Duarte, Gabriel Villa Mural bears a message for longtime Pilsen residents: ‘Fight to stay’; by Chicago Sun-times
Block Club Chicago: These Groups Are Trying To Slow Gentrification In Logan Square And Hermosa – One Affordable At A Time; by Mina Bloom
WBEZCHICAGO: New Census data confirms the continuation of Chicago neighborhoods’ gentrification; by Esther Yoon-Ji Kang
Top and Featured Image Courtesy David Hilowitz’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Courtesy of karmacamilleeon’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License