5 Events that Made All Phoenix Residents Feel Like Neighbors
Every resident knows of a memorable moment that united their community with a significant event, and there is something to be said about those major events that have impacted the city and evoked camaraderie among neighbors. Neighborhoods.com has a list of the most spirited and memorable events that have shaped the history of Phoenix residents and made them into a unified community that made everyone feel like neighbors again.
Take it to the Streets
Phoenix has a long history of protests and ample amounts of passionate people behind the cause, from civil rights movements in the 50s and 60s to discriminatory laws that many believe are still affecting the city today. According to Cronkite News, local protests for inequality attract hundreds of people at City Phoenix Hall from the #RedforEd movement, where teachers across the state protested insufficient state support for educators to the July 2016 protest of fatal shootings across the U.S. It is during these hard times that locals rally together, and where you’ll notice an energy and supportive community coming together to face injustices.
The Phoenix Chinese Cultural Center
The Phoenix Chinese Cultural Center has gained a lot of attention for its grass roots efforts to stop the destruction, what many find to be the possible degradation, of a sacred and critical mainstay of the Asian community. After the center’s new owners sought to develop a commercial center in its place, word spread through the community like wildfire and hundreds, if not thousands, have voiced opposition and protested in hopes of finding a happy medium. Thomas Simon, spokesman for the Chinese United Association of Greater Phoenix and for members of the Chinese community, told Neighborhoods.com it has been a “dream come true to see grass roots efforts, to see all the people come together; both young and old. And with each small win, more people join the battle. It makes you feel good to see that.”
And though the case is currently still in litigation, we asked Simon what he thought would be the impact of the cultural center’s destruction for the community: “When people decide your history doesn’t matter then the impact is undeniable, despicable when the folks have fought back.”
Time will tell what the future will bring to the ponds, gardens, and irreplaceable wood-carved statues that have guarded the city streets. Simon ended by saying, “People ask me ‘how’s the fight going?’ I tell them to drive over to 44th Street and Washington and look up in the air and you’ll see a building still standing, you’ll see the gardens still there, and the architecture. That’s how it’s going. And if these folks hadn’t stood together, it wouldn’t be there. The people are winning.”
Super Bowl XLIII
Arizona Cardinals fans remember 2009 well. It was the first time in franchise history that the Arizona Cardinals won the NFC Championship Game to advance to the Super Bowl. And though they lost 27–23 to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the final seconds of the game, the streets of Phoenix were alive with fans from every sports pub in Downtown Phoenix to those checking their iPhones in grocery stores and nail salons. While no trophy was won, the city celebrated their Cardinals pride if only for the day, with hopes that the future could bring a repeat invitation and victory. Recently, Arizona was awarded the location of the upcoming Super Bowl LVII in 2023. You can bet if the Cards’ make it that year, the city will reverberate with loyal fans in an energy that could not be imagined.
Speaking of sports, every spring as the desert is displayed in colorful bloom, residents of the Phoenix area are only interested in hearing one thing: ‘Play Ball!’ Spring training fever takes over the city with the Cactus League’s 15 teams, including the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, and Los Angeles Dodgers, just to name a few. The suburbs become lively with fans, ball park food, and 10 stadiums full of baseball games. You can rarely find a resident that doesn’t partake in the spring training events in some capacity, and the family-friendly events are treasured by the young and young at heart.
The arts of any kind are a major community-centric characteristic of Phoenix, which impact and influence many residents collectively. Neighborhoods like Roosevelt Row host gallery nights and widely-attended festivals that focus on the artistic importance of the community. Public displays of art can also be found throughout the city, and live theater performances, concert halls, and cultural centers are heavily supported. The most recent example of the community embracing the arts was at the Phoenix Mural Festival, where 80 local artists came together to decorate nearly 50 walls throughout Central Phoenix.
"[The event] had an amazing outpouring of support from businesses and private property owners. Soon, people will round a corner in Phoenix and be surprised by a new and vibrant display of public art,” said Danielle Foushée, founder of the Phoenix mural project in the Downtown Phoenix Journal. The Mural Festival attracted visitors from all over the state to view artistic displays in Phoenix neighborhoods like FQ Story, Willo, Encanto, and Coronado. Sponsored by local businesses and appreciated by the community at large, the festival will undoubtedly become an annual event and bring more residents and visitors together in one place.