Learning From South Phoenix

Letter to South Phoenix

The past six weeks, my class and I have had the wonderful experience in exploring all aspects of South Phoenix. Thanks to our wonderful teacher Dr. K and many speakers, we learned not only the history of South Phoenix but also the future. Also, driving around and observing all the history that is embedded into South Phoenix, whether it be in a mural of a wall or a family owned Mexican food restaurant, we learned about South Phoenix’s roots.

One of my most memorable days that we spent in South Phoenix, was the day we were given the opportunity to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity. I, myself had never been apart of such a wonderful organization. It felt amazing to know that I was helping build a house that someone would eventually call home. Later, in the day a representative from Habitat for Humanity shared information about the organization and all the positives impacts it has made on people’s lives.

During the six weeks that I spent in South Phoenix, my fellow explorers (Rachel, Charity, Jill) and I were able to go to places that I never new existed. One afternoon we drove to the top of South Mountain and saw the breath taking view, I will never forget that day. It was surreal to think that it only took us literally 10 minutes to drive out of the city to a place that seemed calm and peaceful. It was a wonderful escape! Our group also tried out many different restaurants, many of which I would visit again (Poncho’s Mexican Food)! However, I must say the mild taco sauce it a lot stronger than Taco Bell’s!!

I think one area that impacted me the most was all the new development’s planned to be built in South Phoenix. It seemed as if at ever corner there was a sign advertising for new homes or a new shopping center. Different people have different views about all the commercial work that is coming in. Many feel it is taking away from the dominate Latino culture and trying to replace it with a “ mainstream, middle class life style”. Other’s feel, the new developments will only create opportunities and have a positive effect on the community. I, myself am torn between the both, I do feel that it is wrong to have the belief “out with the old and in with the new”, because that is not fair to all the residents that have been here for many generations. But, I do also feel that the new developments will offer opportunities to the residents of South Phoenix and also introduce them to a new culture. I feel that sometimes people are so scared of change that they never give it a chance and I think that the case of South Phoenix a little change may be good as long as it doesn’t take over the amazing culture that is South Phoenix!!

Lastly, I want to thank Dr. K, for opening my eyes to a wonderful place, the residents of South Phoenix for allowing me into your culture and teaching me wonderful things. I also want to thank my fellow classmates and friends, Rachel, Charity and Jill! Rachel, whenever I eat Mexican food from now on, I will think of you! Charity, I will never forget you walking around in your work clothes and heels at the warehouse/home and Jill, thanks to you, I now drink Starbucks, passion ice tea! Anyways, it was a pleasure meeting you all!! Thank you!


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Contact: jmpeterson@firstam.com