Persistence Pays Off


For years and years Cecelia Carrillo has enjoyed a view of downtown Phoenix from her front window and the South Mountains from her back porch.  These beautiful and often breathtaking views are a part of the reason her family chose to reside where they do.  However, recently big name developers have begun to develop what used to be the empty lot across the street into a 190 home subdivision, threatening to take away the view of the city.  The obstruction of the view would come in the form of an 8-10 foot block wall surrounding the new community.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             When Cecelia walked out of her home on October 3, 2001 and the only sight to behold was a gray brick fence, she made her first phone call to city officials asking for its removal.  She explains that the fence which was built was not the fence that the developer had claimed they were going to build.  It was her understanding that their (the developer) intentions were to build a block foundation approximately 2 feet high and then complete the wall with rod iron. It was Cecelia’s goal to make sure that the wall promised to the old residents was the wall that they got.

            Over the next couple months Cecelia organized her neighbors and gathered signatures on a hand written petition to present to both the developer and the city, namely councilman Mike Johnson. She attended several meetings to present her case, where the only sound argument given by the developer was that it was going to cost much. 

            It has now been 4 months since Cecelia resolved herself and neighbors to get the wall replaced and finally her hard work and persistence has paid off.  The developer has agreed, although begrudgingly, to tear down the existing wall and replace it with that of a wall with a view at a cost of $50,000!

As the South Phoenix community grows, conflicts of this sort take place between new and old residents frequently. In the Essay “Divided We Fall: Gated and Walled communities in the United States” Edward Blakely and Mary Snider explain that walls and gates have become a fairly new phenomena. These structures are built to “create a private world that shares little with its neighbors or the larger political system.”

They are built to maintain property values, as well as protect from a crime spillover of neighboring areas.  They have become the newest form of segregation as well as discrimination.

These prejudice ideals were the ones that Cecelia and her neighbors challenged. They fought to retain their place in the urban community and they won!

by KaMaili Jones

Cecelia's view of the city that would have been lost had the brick wall been completed

The wrought iron wall that was promised to Cecelia!

Read what fellow classmates wrote of Cecelia's story:
Yolanda Sanchez
Christy Inthavong
Kurt Deruyter


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