A Letter to the Residents of Phoenix
I have been in a field study class for the past 6 weeks and our area of study was South Phoenix. At first I felt apprehension and hesitant of spending time in this part of the city, considering its reputation. When I saw the class listed in the catalog, I thought "Cool, let's go to South Phoenix." However, the first day driving to our meeting place at the end of Center Avenue I then thought, "have you lost your mind going to the 'hood?"
I do have a very good friend who lives in South Phoenix, and I had been to her house several times without incident. Things didn't seem to be weird or crazy. But this class involved more time in the area than a couple of hours.
Our first meeting was at a classroom at the South Mountain preserve. I never knew there was this kind of beauty only 20 minutes from downtown. There is no pollution, no traffic and you can actually hear the birds sing. But, let me take that back, at times, you can hear nothing which was absolutely refreshing.
We broke for lunch and my group went to Los Dos Molino's a "New Mexican" food restaurant. The rest of the afternoon was spent driving around the South Phoenix area. We were looking at people, buildings, new construction and just getting a general vibe of this area. I failed to see the gangsters with knifes and guns tucked in their pants walking down the street. Where were the poor people that were suppose to be begging on every corner?
What I found in South Phoenix, that I would have never known had I not experienced it myself, was a working community. Yes, some areas were deteriorated more than others. But why was that? Perhaps because the occupants have little or no income. Perhaps because the residents are old and living off of a fixed income and do not have the extra money to fund repairs.
What I found and concluded was that South Phoenix was not all bad, but different. Different than Central Phoenix, definitely different than Scottsdale. It is its an entity, of a community, of its own. It is full of energy, history and culture which is something I fail to find in other parts of our city.
It is really a shame that more people don't take the opportunity to explore this area. There are so many charming and unique shops in South Phoenix. I really feel that we must experience everything in order to have a valid opinion about the subject, and not talking off the tops of our heads.
I would highly recommend to the residents of Phoenix to take an afternoon and visit South Mountain, and have lunch at Los Dos Molino's. Then park the car and walk along Central Avenue and explore some of the shops and just absorb the atmosphere. I promise it will change your feeling about South Phoenix.
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