Gentrification is not so Peachy


Art by Ellie Lind

Antonia Languilla, Staff Writer

Paleteros push their ice cream cart full of popsicles and ice cream all summer in the blazing heat. Paleteros – Spanish for “ice cream men” – became a staple in Latino culture around the 1940s. As soon as you heard the bells jingling you’d run out with your three dollars trying to beat the other kids in your neighborhood for your favorite ice cream or popsicle.

“Paleteros are extremely kind people,” Sophomore Evelyn Martinez explains, “I hold a lot of close childhood memories with them,”.

In Evanston the paleteros are usually elderly, undocumented men. You can find them strolling around in elementary schools ready for kids to hand them their money. I remember that even some Palateros would give kids popsicles for free. Paleteros are not only workers, but they are part of the community. They are someone’s grandpa, uncle or dad. With the pandemic going on, Paleteros are losing customers. Their families already depend on them for money, and they already have little assistance from the government to keep their business alive. 

Paleteros have been a vital part of the Chicago and Evanston community for years. So, when a white man steals the market for their business, it’s personal. This very scenario has played itself out with John Lawrence, a white man, announcing his Logan Square business, Peachy, on Facebook alongside a photo of a blue ice cream cart. 

“Today, we officially launch Peachy Vegan Ice Cream … and soon to be brick and mortar ice cream shop/cafe featuring quick vegan and vegetarian focused food items in Logan Square,” the post reads.

Many people viewed the Peachy cart as the gentrification of Paletero carts.  

“I do see this as gentrification because they’re using the main idea of the paletero carts. Even if they’re vegan, they still do the same thing.” sophomore Karla Solorzano explains. “ln my opinion, I think there are many other ways to sell ice cream, and the only reason this company decided to use a Paletero cart was to steal from the Latino community and Paletero jobs. This is cruel because this is most of the paleteros income and Peachy is trying to take that away from them.”

In addition, Logan Square, where Peachy is situated, is already highly impacted by gentrification. According to WBEZ, “The community was virtually all-white until 1960. Between 1970 and 1980, the Latino population there grew from 15,000 to more than 40,000 while the white population fell by more than 50,000 — from 86,000 to 36,000. By 1980, Logan Square was majority Latino. However, since 2000 Logan Square has been gentrified, the Latino population has fallen thereby more than 20,000, while the white population has grown by more than 12,000.” 

Stealing from other cultures is wrong, especially when they are already struggling. Street vendors face enough harassment, as they often get beaten and robbed, or face suspicion from police thinking that they don’t have a permit to sell. 

One example of this the murder of the 68-year-old Adeliado Urias Bernabe. “Who’d been selling ice cream on June 23 when three men showed up. They robbed and murdered him. Emergency crews found Urias lying in the parking lot of the apartment complex with a gunshot wound, police said. He was taken to a hospital, where he died on July 1,” reads USA Today.

Paleteros and street vendors are being attacked. Supporting our local street vendors 

and paleteros helps out the community by not only improving the diversity but by also being welcoming to other cultures. Instead of spending your money on stolen ideas and gentrification, simply buy from them or let them know you’re keeping an eye out for them. Always support your local street vendors.