Established as an industrial area in the mid-1800s, Pilsen has long been a thriving immigrant community. As the population evolved from Bohemian to Polish to predominately Mexican, the community retained its working-class roots. However, during the past ten years, significant development has occurred in the area, leading many Pilsen residents to fear that the forces of gentrification would soon displace the thriving community they had worked so hard to build.
In 1998, as the University of Illinois-Chicago expanded southward and the City of Chicago created the Pilsen Industrial Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District, local leaders recognized the need to organize. They hosted a Community Congress for Pilsen residents, community-based organizations, and businesses to develop a strategic plan for community preservation. The creation of the Pilsen Alliance was part of that plan and the organization is now responsible for convening an open community congress every two years. The Pilsen Alliance has achieved considerable victories in the communities of Pilsen, Marshall Square, Little Village, North Lawndale and Cicero.
*Successfully fought to prevent the closure of 4 Pilsen elementary schools
*Successfully pressured the shut-down of polluter Fisk Coal Plant in Pilsen
*Successfully fundraised for families facing emergencies and displacement
*Helped stop development of 18th and Peoria Luxury condos
*Reestablishment of PA Youth Committee
*Board training and leadership development
*Successfully helped to remove SRO from Benito Juarez Academy
*Successfully led the defeat of the controversial Pilsen Landmark Ordinance
*Mutual Aid Femme Defensa, emergency funds, mobile covid testing
*Won 90% of vote in Pilsen precincts for Community Zoning
*Won 75% of vote referendum Down Zoning Pilsen
*Won 74% of vote referendum in 25th ward to Lift the Ban on Rent Control
*Won 90% of vote to demand Community Benefits Agreements in Pilsen and increased set aside demands of at least 30% for family sized housing.
*Won 73% of vote for community driven zoning process in Pilsen