Letter to residents of Phoenix

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    Are all the negative rumors about South Phoenix true?  Is it really a place to be avoided?  Is it “scarier” than other parts of the city?  Though it is only my opinion, I would like to give you my personal perspective on South Phoenix and perhaps clear up or confirm some of South Phoenix’s “bad” reputation.  You see I have spent a lot of time down “there” lately.  Every Friday for two months, my classmates and I drove all the way to South Phoenix and spent the day there.  And by day, I mean a good chunk of time...nearly 8 hours. 

            The first Friday in South Phoenix, I had a feeling of uneasiness because I really did not know what to expect.  To be honest with you, my expectations were not very high but my defenses were.  One of the things that warmed me up to South Phoenix the very first day was the food.  You see, two or three times a week, I eat at the Chili’s restaurant by my house and order the same entree almost every time.  Now, this security is nice, but in South Phoenix there are no chain restaurants (besides McDonald’s, which I swore off of long ago).  Every week I tried new and original food in South Phoenix (mostly Mexican food, which has always been a favorite of mine).  Some people in my class were scared to eat at restaurants that they had never heard of, but I on the other hand, was excited, and I was never disappointed.  Instead I was impressed, and I had fun with all the novelty.  My point, actually, has nothing to do with promoting restaurants in South Phoenix but rather, I want to promote the positive side of being unique.  And that is exactly what South Phoenix is: unique.  When was the last time you saw fruit stands on the side of the road in North Phoenix?  Well, I saw some in South Phoenix and bought some wonderful produce; I would love a fruit stand in my neighborhood.  Yet most people, I would guess, would not.  Perhaps they see a simple fruit stand as a sign of low economic status and, therefore, trouble.  Honestly though, do fruit stands breed crime or something?  I don’t think so.  They remind me of when I would set up a lemonade stand on the weekends.  I like the fruit stands in South Phoenix. 

            Another thing about South Phoenix, which some people would appreciate and others would not, is its honesty.  Things are not hidden.  A center that promotes abstinence, right on Central Avenue, has huge murals displaying their messages.  It’s not graffiti to me, it’s art and it is expressive, not dull.  

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South Phoenix never seems dull in my opinion.  Bright blue and pink stores are not a rare sight in this particular part of town.  Low-rider cars are more popular, it seems, in South Phoenix.  People also seem to honk a lot when people walk by.  According to the state census, the majority of people in South Phoenix are Hispanic, and their colorful culture dominantly shines through.  I didn’t like the honking.  I liked the vivid colors of the buildings.  South Phoenix has it\s up sides and its down sides.  But consider your neighborhood...doesn’t it have its good and bad qualities, too?  I guess, for the people who call South Phoenix “home”, the good must outweigh the bad. 

            Things are changing in South Phoenix.  People are realizing that it holds value and that it is a very “livable” place.  The danger is that, as new people move in, they may want to change South Phoenix.  They may want to get rid of the fruit stands and the brightly colored stores and houses.  They may want to take away South Phoenix’s individuality.  I say, go ahead and add to it, but don’t take away what is so enjoyable about South Phoenix, which is its originality.  I still go to Chili’s but, when I’m up for an adventure, I’ll head to South Phoenix for some “one of a kind” dining and ambiance.

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