Dear Citizens of The Greater Phoenix Area,
I am also a resident of Phoenix and have lived here my entire life. I have witnessed the growth and changes first hand. The changes that have occurred, just sense my youth have been amazing, but one thing has remained constant and that is the stigma that has been given to South Phoenix.
When I started this class I was a little apprehensive about being down on the streets of South Phoenix. From all the stories that you hear as you grow up I couldn't help but think that surely me or one of my fellow students would come across a violent or at the least a threatening situation. I am glad to say that I was very wrong on all accounts. Instead of seeing all the "poor" people, financially and emotionally, I saw a very rich culture and put to rest all my personal fears of South Phoenix.
The first thing that you can't help but notice, as soon as you go south of the river is the landscaping. Gone are the boring pinkish and brown stucco strip malls and the housing communities of the same color scheme. These buildings and homes actually have a character of their own. There are messages on the walls of a flower shop urging youth to practice abstinence in the form of a mural. If this mural had been painted in my neighborhood it would be viewed as graffiti and an eyesore and would have to be covered up, but in South Phoenix it is a beautiful piece of art that tastefully decorates a section of Central Ave. with a very important message. Why is it just because the architecture and the way that people actually show their personality been viewed as such a negative thing?
Another thing that I was pleasantly surprised with is the fact that there is an actual history in South Phoenix. The majority of the homes in the area have been there for quite awhile as well as some of the buildings along Central Avenue. These buildings and houses tell a story that newer houses and buildings just don't have. Why don't we view this as important and significant as opposed to wanting to tear them all down and build something that looks new and update the appearance. Are the people that live there complaining? If we keep tearing down the historical parts of our valley how are we ever going to develop a unique history for our valley?
As I indicated in the introduction of this letter, I thought that South Phoenix was a place to be avoided at all cost. I am glad to say that way of thinking has changed. I know now from seeing what South Phoenix really is with my own eyes that it is a very interesting place. I am almost jealous of the personality that it has and the close-knit communities that it has as compared to my own in the North Phoenix. I think that this was definitely a case of ignorance on my part with condemning the community without knowing anything about it and I would just like to express to others that they shouldn't fall prey to my same ignorance. If you just take the time to go and see the area now I am sure you would feel the same. You can just sense the culture and the pride that the community has and I wonder what happened to that for the rest of us.