GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - (Page 23)

GrandZ in the ’Hood By Al MArtinez Marsha Bolden, “Grandma Weezie,” writes: “i posed right in front of my duplex. if you look at the wall behind me, you can see lighter shades of paint where i painted over the gang graffiti that [appeared] because of my efforts to stop the violence.” Her turf is children T Weezie’s Vid “God saVe the Children” is Bolden’s aCtiVist taBleau depiCtinG the realities of GanG ViolenCe. He video could convince you it’s a real crime scene—a chalked outline of a body, blood stains on the pavement, police evidence markers, candles and flowers commemorating someone who has died there. It’s not real—it originated as a Halloween tableau—but it appears authentic because Marsha Bolden has seen the reality too many times to count. “I’m not afraid of God,” Bolden says. “I’m not afraid of witches. This is what I’m afraid of.” The crime scene and hundreds of posters are the work of Bolden (her family calls her “Weezie,” after her middle name, Louise), a disabled grandmother of four who is determined to save the children from the horrors of gang warfare. Bolden’s neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles is the turf of the Bloods, a violent street gang constantly at war with its nemesis the Crips. Innocent children are often their victims. Stray bullets fly indiscriminately when guns are drawn, striking kids who happen to be in their way: an 8-year-old sitting on her porch, a 4-year-old playing in front of her house, an 18-month-old strapped in a car seat, a 9-yearold in the kitchen of her home. Real cases. Real victims. Bolden was prompted to take action against violence in a sudden surge of gang warfare that threatened her own three grown daughters and four grandchildren (two boys, two girls) who live nearby. As “Grandma Weezie,” she began passing out computer-generated posters to her neighbors that asked, “Are you sick and tired of all the violence?” Then: “Don’t wait for tragedy to hit your family before taking a stand. Join the fight to save lives today!” She left the pamphlets in doctors’ offices, grocery stores and wherever else neighbors assembled. Then she made the “crime scene” video and placed it in various public access online programs, and she took it in person to the school district office and to the local police station. “Babies can’t play in their own front yards,” she tells whoever is listening. “No one is safe.” MAY 2009 GRAND 23

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - May 2009

GRAND Magazine - May 2009
GRAND Central
Watching Lily Bloom
GrandZ in the 'Hood'
Numbers Game
We're Taking In the G'Kids
Family Crews
Soul Food
GRAND Finale

GRAND Magazine - May 2009