Tisha Altamirano is a resident of South Phoenix and has been witness to the changing physical, cultural, political, historical landscape of the city.
Born in 1970, Tisha Altamirano studied in Baseline Christian School in South Phoenix and also did correspondence courses for her GED at South Mountain Community College. In her lifetime, Tisha watched South Phoenix and SMCC changed before her eyes. Growing up on Baseline Road, Tisha’s family grew citrus, food, and flowers alongside the famed Japanese Flower Gardens of the Nakagawa and Kishiyama families.
Tisha’s grandfather, Kashiro Oka worked in the Japanese army and spent some time in California before coming to Arizona and settling as a farmer in South Phoenix. He leased farms and brought the workers from Mexico to the city to work on the farms because he couldn’t own lands because of the rules of citizenship. Her grandfather was one of the few farmers who supplied food to the city. Tisha’s grandmother Theresa was one of the workers who came to the city and resided here. They both later married and had five daughters, the second of them was Tisha’s mother.
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Tisha’s mother was born in 1931 and went to elementary school until eighth grade and was in the city during the times of World War II. By the time Tisha started growing up, their family had transitioned into other jobs as they sold off their farms. During WWII, a lot of citizens of Japanese origins had to stay in internment camps if they happened to have their house closer to the city.
Tisha reflects on the city of Phoenix she has grown up in and how she watched and see it transform. She feels that the growing up the city has a great diversity of things but it is different and the city doesn’t seem to be too close knit and people keep to themselves now.
Tisha believes that people have not told the history of South Phoenix since the city was segregated and people of color don’t find themselves being reflected in the people around them. And so the people were talking of history amongst themselves and so there hasn’t been much history of the city of South Phoenix written down.
|Place of Origin||South Phoenix|
|Place of Residence||South Phoenix|
|Years active in South Phoenix||1970-|
|Date||May 6, 2021|
|Location||Online ( Zoom)|
|Interviewed by||Student researcher Kashiro Altamirano|
Faculty researchers Dr. Summer Cherland and Liz Warren
|Story written by||Independent Researcher Shalini P., University of Hyderabad, India|