Cultures were coming together in Milwaukee long before it became a city in 1848. And while each has shaped the region, the area has always retained its diverse ethnic influences. The Cesar E. Chavez Business Improvement District and its surrounding neighborhoods are no exception. Part of Historic Walker’s Point, it boasts the city’s oldest residential area, where a host of European immigrants settled throughout the first half of the 20th century. Populated largely by immigrant Mexican workers in the 1960s and 1970s, it soon became a destination for a variety of Latin and other cultures as well. Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, African-Americans, South Americans and Asians have made this area home, where diversity is respected and ethnic differences are encouraged to thrive. Home to first-, second- and third generation immigrants; the Cesar E. Chavez area is a cross section of cultures—a “melting pot within a melting pot” that enriches residents, visitors and the city of Milwaukee. In 2009, the business owners felt it was the perfect time to establish a business improvement district and to make things easier, federal money was acquired for the new streetscape up and down the drive. The Cesar E. Chavez spirit continues to lives on, in the passion and independence of the Cesar E. Chavez business improvement district, a five block business corridor of retailers and shops, unified by one simple goal: to enrich the community and its visitors through culture and commerce.
Today it is home to many immigrant families and business owners. As we continue to innovate, build cultural awareness and establish the drive as a destination, it continues to be known as the “heart” of the south side.