In its mission statement, the grassroots organization, which formed last winter in response to tenant evictions from M. Fishman properties in the neighborhood, says it aims to “empower the community through dialogue and action.”
The first part of the series will take place 7 pm tonight at Grace Methodist Church and focus on “The Basics” of gentrification. The next three parts of the series, which take place over the next two weeks, will tackle the history of gentrification, issues of race and classism and alternative options for neighborhood improvement.
While a full agenda has not been published, Somos Logan Square’s outreach coordinator, Amie Sell, says that the event series incorporates input from many neighborhood partners in collaboration with the members of the organization. The event organizers say they have invited “housing, youth and social service leaders, financial experts and local academics,” including Dr. Jesse Mumm from Northeastern Illinois University, to participate in the event series.
Continuing The Ongoing Dialogue On Logan Square Gentrification
According to Sell, Somos Logan Square has several concrete aims, such as “help[ing] tenants fight evictions by sharing information about their rights and helping them form associations” and “fight[ing] for affordable housing by putting pressure on developers for affordable housing concessions.” But the event series will focus more broadly on reaching out to the neighborhood to continue the discussion that’s on everyone’s lips.
“The aim of the series is to continue the dialogue we’ve been fostering about gentrification, to dig a little deeper about what is happening in our neighborhood and to then turn it into tangible actions,” Sell says.
With ongoing controversies surrounding mass evictions (see more here), school closings and budget cuts and proposed developments (see more here) in the neighborhood, the event series should spur lively discussion among residents. Sell says that Somos Logan Square hopes to invite a broad group of voices to attend the series.
“We want to reach renters, homeowners, landlords to let them know that we have choices for creating homes for everyone,” Sell says. “We want to reach white and affluent people, not to make them feel guilty, but to enable them to take action to keep our neighborhood diverse.”
Further Sessions On Racism, Classism, Alternatives To Gentrification
The event series will be held in English but translations will be available for Spanish-speaking neighbors. Residents can feel free to bring the whole family as the series will offer a children’s table with activities.
Can’t attend tonight’s event? The schedule for the rest of the series is below:
History of Gentrification: Giving historical context to neighborhood change to learn from the past.
Jan. 17, 12 pm – 1:30 pm, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
Racism and Classism: How and why displacement of minorities and poor people happens.
Jan. 21, 7 pm – 8:30 pm, Grace Methodist Church
Affordability saving Diversity: Exploring ways the community can improve while preserving economic and racial diversity.
Jan. 24, 12 – 1:30 pm, Humboldt Park United Methodist Church
Photo: Chandler Collins