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Logan Square Youth Fight for Affordable Housing

“We could have stayed at home or went out with our friends, but we wanted to celebrate Martin Luther King Day by keeping his struggle for freedom and housing rights alive in our neighborhood today,” shared Oyuki Vasquez, LSNA youth leader and housing activist.     

 LSNA youth and housing leaders celebrated MLK Day by holding a teach-in and action day around the fight to build affordable “Zapata Apartments” on Armitage Avenue. The event was truly intergenerational—35 youth from Kelvyn Park, North Grand, Pritzker College Prep, and Clemente High Schools joined Parent Tutors, teachers, LSNA organizers and several younger students from elementary and middle schools for the day. Students from the Social Justice Academy showed their documentary about gentrification in Logan Square, Shelter: One Community’s Struggle, and led small group discussions about ways the community can come together to protect affordable housing in the neighborhood. Then, youth and adults formed teams, went door-knocking and invited neighbors to a Zapata community meeting.    

“Seeing all these young people care deeply about their community gives me hope for the future. This is what change looks like,” reflected North Grand teacher Arturo Fuentes. The day ended in a large peace circle where participants expressed their commitment to community change and fighting to make Zapata Apartments a reality.

Yocelin Arroyo (center) leads a door knocking role play at LSNA's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day service-learning event.