Dear current and prospective students of South Phoenix:


Hi, my name is Jacqueline Vega and I am writing this letter because I have completed an Urban Studies class at Arizona State University West. I would, first of all, like to give thanks to all the residents of South Phoenix, for letting us use their city as our classroom, because without them doing so, this course would not be possible.


In addition to thanking the people in this city for letting our class use their area, I am also writing to let them know that our classroom’s visits there was not a waste of time, nor was it to add to or enforce any of the preconceived notions that an outsider may have when they hear the words, South Phoenix. We intended, and were successful at, embarking on a search of people’s honest stories and opinions. When asked, the residents of South Phoenix, old and new alike will tell you willingly what they think of the changes and the community, and what it has been like living there. Some have responded to the changes hesitantly, knowing that new changes could possibly mean getting lost in the community, forcing them to find other places to live. Others are excited by them, considering taking new opportunities that come with new development.


As outsiders and residents may know, South Phoenix has a reputation for being a crime infested, run down area. I do not know exactly how South Phoenix came to have a reputation for being dangerous, perhaps the media has had influence on this, but it is really apparent that poverty and danger come to mind when South Phoenix is talked about. When my research team and I were telling someone from South Phoenix we were conducting a study, he looked stunned and said, “be careful,” as if we were entering a battlefield. I thought his remark was inappropriate because it added to the stereotype that South Phoenix is a horrible place to live. Moreover, as long as there are people occupying an area, there will be crime, because people are not perfect. The more time I spent in South Phoenix, the more I found the scenery having more of an impression on my experiences than crime or poverty did. Because of being improperly maintained, the city may appear rough, but I am clearly stating that this is not the case at all. Like I have written in my outside project where my research team and I went to interview a local high school, which can also be found on this website, most students that my research team and I have spoken with feel safe in their neighbors. They gave me the impression that they enjoy growing up where they live, and will even one day raise children there. They have a lot of pride in their community, and with colorful, culturally influenced surroundings and the beautiful South Mountain scenery, it is not difficult to see why. My advice to anyone who finds themselves living in South Phoenix is to avoid the stereotypes at all cost, and see the city for what it really is, a warm, multi-cultural location with gorgeous views and plenty of services willing to help those who are disadvantaged.

Thank for your time spent reading this.


Jacqueline Vega









  Modified 4/21/2006