I've lived in the constantly changing, quickly gentrifying, predominantly Latino Chicago neighborhood of Pilsen, since returning to my hometown from the small town of Pasadena, Texas where I grew up.
Though the community is continually changing, there was always what seemed to be an underlying respect for the artists in the neighborhood and their work.
As of late, though, their has been a surge of violence against each other. Don't get me wrong, it's always been there in some for or another, but lately - woah, wow, ugh, ick, yuck, wtf!
A young artist was killed this week. Artwork at our local community radio was vandalized.
What is going on, Pilsen? Are you angry at the infiltration of hipsters and jocks from UIC? Then let's get together and discuss ways of dealing with it. Are you angry that the city wants to displace us with the 2016 Olympics? Let's strategize and plan a proposal for change, indicating our needs and OUR VALUE in this community WE BUILT.
Violence should never be the first option.
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Tribune staff report
July 27, 2009
A man captured by two off-duty police officers has been charged with first-degree murder in a Pilsen shooting that prosecutors said one officer witnessed.Marcelino Sauseda, 25, is accused of firing into a van traveling on 18th Street near Loomis Street about 4 p.m. Saturday in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, hitting Jeff A. Maldonado, 19, in the head.According to court documents, an off-duty Chicago police officer driving his personal car saw the shooting. He chased the suspect, joined by an off-duty Cook County sheriff's officer.According to court documents, the officers arrested Sauseda in an alley near the 1700 block of South Loomis Street.
July 29, 2009
An immigration-themed mural that Latino youth were painting was vandalized in the Pilsen neighborhood overnight. Scribbled over it were the words "lies" and "Mexicans are racist."The mural is an extension of a past exhibit put on by the National Museum of Mexican Art called a "Declaration of Immigration." Silvia Rivera, general manager of Radio Arte, said the mural is on their building at 1401 W. 18th St. Rivera said she doesn't know who did it or why but there is definitely a sentiment against Latinos and immigrants right now in the country."There is a certain tension in the air. The issue of Sonia Sotomayor is being played out. There's tension over whether or not immigration reform is going to happen," Rivera said.
But Rivera said they are going to try and turn something negative into a positive. The youth will paint over the vandalism and they are thinking of having a town hall meeting to talk about immigration and other issues. "We're going to look at it as a life lesson," Rivera said.This is a hard learned lesson. The people who defaced the mural are the real racists. It's just another example of the increasing anti-Mexican and anti-Latino sentiment that the right wing is spreading. We have to band together and fight against it.