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Chicago Tribune Op-Ed: Why Pilsen Should Be Designated A 'Cultural Sanctuary'

The Pilsen community’s rich culture dates to the 19th century. The Chicago neighborhood’s Czech inhabitants pioneered institutions that facilitated social, civic and economic integration for its inhabitants and new immigrants. Over the last 50 years, economic, social and civic efforts have empowered Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in Pilsen and throughout the Chicago area.

However, gentrification, market forces, private developers and current immigration policies have driven recent debates about the cultural identity of Pilsen. These debates have caused racial, economic and social tensions around housing, economic development and community. This dynamic makes Pilsen ripe for a discussion about designating it a cultural sanctuary.

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