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Pilsen, Little Village, West Loop

Pilsen Walking Tour Focused on Gentrification Canceled After Social Media Criticism

The three-hour tour scheduled for July 7 also planned to visit murals and restaurants.

Reach for Peace, 2011, Yollocalli Arts Reach, 1544 W 18th St.
[Mauricio Peña/Block Club Chicago]
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PILSEN — Following criticism on social media, a Chicago tour company canceled a public walking tour focused on gentrification in Pilsen.

After announcing the “Changes and Spaces in Pilsen Food Tour” last week, Chicago Detours canceled the three-hour tour slated for Saturday, July 7.

“We designed the [tour] to address the varied perspectives people have on the rapid changes that are happening in many of our Chicago neighborhoods,” Amanda Scotese, founder and executive director of Chicago Detours, said in an email.

“Gentrification is a complex process. We believe that to bring a tour group into Pilsen and ignore the topic would be irresponsible,” she added.

In the email, Scotese emphasized the tour’s critical look at the role “we as visitors have as a tour group.”

“We are now aware that some community members do not welcome our tour, and have chosen to cancel it,” she said.

In a statement on the company’s website, Scotese said Chicago Detours plans to make a donation to Chicago Community and Workers’ Rights Pilsen Alliance and The Resurrection Project in lieu of the event.

But a Resurrection Project spokesperson said Wednesday that they would not accept donations from Chicago Detours. The tour group previously planned to donate tips and a portion of the ticket sales to the Pilsen nonprofit. Later in the day, the Pilsen Alliance also said it wouldn’t accept the donation.

“No donation has been received. No donation will be accepted,” a Resurrection Project spokesperson said in a statement.

The tour, which was planned to span 1.3 miles of the neighborhood, was framed through the lens of the Mexican immigrant community, according to press material released for the walking tour.

The tour included a guided tour focused on the history behind gentrification in the neighborhood, a visit to community murals and stops at Mexican restaurants Canton Regio and 5 Rabanitos.

The cost of the tour drew criticism on social media, with some pointing to the price tag $52 as problematic.

This is not the first time Chicago Detours tours have focused on the issue of gentrification in changing neighborhoods. 

Earlier this year, the tour group’s gentrification bus tour of Logan Square and Avondale drew sharp criticism from neighbors, with similar criticisms that the price tag of that tour could excluded the residents who were being displaced.

At the time, Scotese said she received violent messages after announcing the tour, and in response, she pulled the tour off of the public platform and made the Logan and Avondale bus tour a  private tour instead.