Gentrification is a touchy subject with anyone involved on either side of the battlefront. On one hand you have new businesses who have all it takes to thrive in a otherwise abandoned area, and on the other hand you have the residents and locals who usually live on a low income budget.
The children of these local families are now standing up against gentrification and they’re done being polite about it. The ChiResist group of activists filmed a confrontation with city officials and posted the video on their Facebook page, explaining their concerns with a new restaurant opening up in Pilsen.
“We are the children of immigrants that watched our parents work for the homes that they now cannot afford to keep,” the group said. “We are young residents, born and raised in Pilsen, that are hurting from seeing our people and history systematically erased from our community and the city.”
However, it seems that their efforts have now escalated to vandalism. Restaurant chef-owner Stephen Gillanders and a couple of his employees, spent the early hours of this morning removing graffiti from the building demanding that their business “get out” of Pilsen.
Both S.K.Y., 1239 W. 18th St., and the building that houses Dusek’s, Punch House and Thalia Hall, 1227 W. 18th St., were vandalized overnight. The message read on the Dusek’s window simply read “Get Out”, while the damage at S.K.Y. was filled with more hatred.
Gillanders, a Filipino chef opening a restaurant named after his Korean wife, said he was upset by the graffiti and the message it carried. The group of activists used black spray paint marking the restaurateurs as “gentrifiers”. Their message for them was “YT ppl outta Pilsen”, which was placed along the restaurant’s 18th Street-facing wall, along with another “get out” painted on the window.
Gillanders feels as if the group has completely misunderstood his efforts and goals for the restaurant in the area. He explained to Eater Chicago prior to the incident, that he’s aware of gentrification issues and wants to work with the community.
Other works of vandalism in the area at a now-closed coffee shop read: “Pilsen is not for sale,” “White people out of Pilsen!” and “Fresh Roasted Gentrification Served here.”