Building Communities

In today’s events, I learned more information about South Phoenix. Our guest speaker, Sara, was telling us that when South Phoenix was developing, half the population was Hispanic, more specifically, Mexican. In 1903, there was even a “No Tenting in City Limits” regulation enforced to prevent the undesirable people from moving into “White Phoenix.” Contrary to the past, when my classmates and I were driving around, and taking the time to eat lunch at a local restaurant, I observed how much more culturally diverse South Phoenix has become.

Reflecting upon Sara’s presentation, it is amazing to think of how much has been added to this city. Phoenix started out as a flood area with bad sewage, but it is really apparent, while driving around, that this city is now a thriving community, with plenty of markets, restaurants, mostly American fast food, or Mexican food, and housing, with development still underway. As we closed our meeting at the Stardust House, I turned to the South, and looked past the neighborhood houses. I was amazed by the gorgeous scenery, surrounding the residents of South Phoenix,  a view that they are fortunate to see every single day.

In addition to the meeting and a lunch break at a Mexican restaurant, my research team and I drove around, and decided to set up a meeting in order to conduct a study at a high school we had been contemplating. Before we did that, we went inside a thrift store, and I thought about because South Phoenix is in the earliest stages of development, it does not yet have a mall, not one that I am aware of.

When my group and I were talking to the principal to set up a meeting, we could tell she was concerned with protecting both the school’s and city’s reputation, and rightfully so. She wanted to know specifically what kind of questions we would be asking, and what we wanted to achieve from this experience. I completely understood why she wanted to prevent the contribution of any stereotypes to South Phoenix’s schools and cities. If a person does not have pride of confidence in their city, they will not have the ability to improve it.

According to an Arizona Republic Article “People are really moving here; South Phoenix undergoing rebirth,” there are some expanding parts South Phoenix called a Mecca of real estate development, that are removing the stigma of crime and drugs that South Phoenix has endured throughout the years. In the article a bank sponsorship manager who resides in these expanding areas claims he jokes with his friends, about how he lives on the “good” side of Phoenix. It will probably take many years, but the idea that those children in that high school will soon live in a community with less crime and drugs is looking optimistic. The government and other officials cannot force people into a living in opulent homes, but these communities do have a right to be safe. Arizonans have ignored the negative aspects of Phoenix, only concentrating on luring outsiders in through exaggerating Phoenix’s more attractive places, such as resorts, parks, and lucrative businesses. The neighborhood at the Stardust House reminded me much of my own neighborhood in Glendale, in that it definitely has a comfortable vibe to it. At the park, I saw a group of guys playing basketball, a little eight year old girl riding her bike. “People are really moving [to South Phoenix]” and forming communities, and it is pleasant to discover that. Before this class, I had never explored what the South part of Phoenix has to offer, and this is unfortunate, because by ignoring locations, people are ignored, and it is then that the line between disregard and inhumanity is crossed.


  Modified 4/21/2006