The Casa Aztlan Murals, an iconic celebration of Mexican heroes, is the latest victim of gentrification in Chicago.
The faces of Rudy Lozano, Frida Kahlo, Benito Juárez and Cesar Chávez, which have adorned the heavily Mexican neighborhood of Pilsen since 1971, were painted over, as the building, once home to the community resource center Casa Aztlán, is transformed into 10 luxury apartments.
While Casa Aztlán hasn't been operating in the building since 2013 – it’s now in a smaller space – the erasure of the iconic piece shocked the community.
On Tuesday night, the Pilsen Alliance hosted a vigil called The Mourning of Casa Aztlán. Community members came out, bringing flowers, candles, posters of Latin American heroes and a message written in chalk on the sidewalk in front of the building: “Gentrification is Colonization.”
“We want to make sure we raise awareness of what’s happening – not even slowly anymore – in terms of displacement and shifts from the community space now to condos,” Byron Sigcho, executive director of Pilsen Alliance, told the Chicagoist.
To support Casa Aztlán, an organization still proving services for immigrant and working-class Latinxs, donate to its gofundme campaign.