"It is easier to build a strong child than to repair a broken man." - Frederick Douglass

Anti-Gentrification Mural Symbolizes Resilience

Courtesy of David Hilowitz (Flicker CC0)

Recently, two artists from Pilsen — Hector Duarte and Gabriel Villa — created a mural to fight against gentrification in their community. These artists wanted to shine a light on investors coming into homes and slowly weed out community members. The mural references Mario Castillo’s mural, one of the first in Pilsen that was later a part of the Chicano Movement.

The newest mural was created as a reminder that those living in Pilsen are there to stay. 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 Hispanic communities and all low-income neighborhoods. It sends an important message.

It is also a symbol of peace. The mural represents everything the artists want for their neighborhood. The symbolic image of a tornado shows the community being swept away from traditional Mexican culture. There is also a family holding hands with firmly rooted trees. All the imagery has a significant meaning: Residents must stick together and be firmly rooted in their community.

The mural helps the residents not to give in and to 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, resulting in problems such as racial displacement, loss of cultural diversity, homelessness, etc. The Pilsen community has set an example by being a solid neighborhood that values family over money.

The neighborhood is not the only one facing these issues. Logan Square is an excellent example as it has set an example for all low-income neighborhoods. They successfully prevented gentrification by selling buildings and houses for less than their appraised prices. Losing money for the well-being of their community takes commitment from property owners.

Courtesy of karmacamilleeon (Flickr CC0)

Logan Square formed organizations aimed at making its community an affordable place for everyone. Preventing gentrification resulted in positive outcomes such as lower property taxes and the Community Land Trust, which is used to help low-income households stay in the area. This not only benefits those in the community now but in the future.

The effect of gentrification is very harmful and does not benefit low-income neighborhoods. Pilsen and Logan Square are examples of communities fighting against gentrification.

Pilsen has a symbolic mural to remind the residents, especially property owners, not to give in to the “invader” and preserve the community. At the same time, Logan Square created organizations and made wise choices to benefit their area. They choose to stand against gentrification.

Written by Alexandria Figures

Sources :

Chicago Sun-Times: Hector Duarte, Gabriel Villa Mural bears a message for longtime Pilsen residents: ‘Fight to stay;’ by Josephine Stratman

Block Club Chicago: These Groups Are Trying To Slow Gentrification In Logan Square And Hermosa – One Affordable At A Time; by Mina Bloom

WBEZ CHICAGO: 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

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