chapter  4
30 Pages

Writing the World with Mathematics: Developing a Sense of Social Agency

In this quote, Marisol referred to the gentrification just beginning in Morningside when she was a seventh-grade student in my class (1997-1998). This was to have major disruptive impact on the community and students’ lives, and we discussed it in all my classes. Morningside is close to downtown Chicago and has solid housing stock, and developers have coveted it for years. When I started teaching at Rivera and first discussed gentrification with students, few understood or believed that

profound changes were beginning in their neighborhood. In one class, some students said that gentrification was their parents’ concern, not theirs. As of this writing (April 2005), however, the changes are dramatic. Realtors rent apartments to students advertising “an intercom system, security gates, security lights; very secure building,” all of which had been rare in Morningside. A community resident told me recently that if you want to buy a home in a Mexican neighborhood, “you can’t touch Morningside.” Rents have gone up drastically, and students, artists, and young singles or couples are moving in. In a local coffee shop frequented by Latino/a and white activists, artists, and others, I recently saw a sign advertising a “dog walking service.” In Morningside, this was unheard of, and a mother of one of my students was overcome with laughter that such a thing even existed. The signs of gentrification are all around the community.