Taking Blame | Letters | Chicago Reader

Taking Blame 

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Dear Reader:

In response to some of the letters appearing recently, regarding the "displaced" Hispanic community in Wicker Park, I feel a need to respond as someone who may have unwittingly aided in the "transformation" of the area. When I moved into the neighborhood over ten years ago, it was with other classmates of mine from the School of the Art Institute, we were initially drawn there by the low-cost spaces as well as the proximity to town. Contrary to popular belief, most of us are not from the suburbs, we came from everywhere, all around the country.

It didn't surprise me that Huebner ["The Panic in Wicker Park," August 26] for the most part ignored the effect upon the area's community previous to our arrival, anyone who's been here long enough can tell you about that.

When I first moved into Wicker Park, I had to become accustomed to lots of broken glass on the sidewalks, litter scattered everywhere, intimidating stares from young Hispanic men, squealing car tires around every corner, in short, a run-down neighborhood, deserving of its bad reputation and low rents. This was the legacy of Wicker Park.

It may not be a popular opinion, but frankly, if I had to choose, I would rather live next door to a yuppie who keeps his litter in a garbage can and his car stereo at a respectable volume. Just because you are poor doesn't give you the right to live where you've been, just because you've been there. Those who own property should be able to sell it to whoever they please, this is the foundation of our country. We artists no more "took" the area from the Hispanics than they "took" it from the Polish and Ukrainian communities that were there even farther back.

What is going on in Wicker Park is simply inevitable, and it makes good reading for your publication to present the story and some of the personalities involved. Somehow though I don't think anyone should expect a "just" outcome in what is essentially natural law, the survival of the fittest.

R. Keller

Wicker Park

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