SOUTH PHILADELPHIA – A South Philadelphia community activist is honored four years after her death. She was known for her work with at-risk children and for being a pillar of her community.
“It’s a wonderful day for us. She is. She deserved it,” the Grimes family said. They celebrate a huge honor for their mother Vendetta Grimes, who died four years ago.
On Friday, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson unveiled a street sign honoring Grimes, who he said was a longtime pillar of the South Philadelphia community. Sigel Street between 21st and 22nd Street where she lived is now renamed Vendetta Grimes Way.
“In recognition of the love for her ward, Ms. Grimes was voted Block Captain by her neighbors and served as Majority Inspector for the 3rd Division of the Democratic 48th Ward for 35 years,” Councilor Johnson said. Grimes is remembered for his community activism, his mentorship of troubled youth and his service to others.
“She fed everyone, all the time. We never had a single meal for ourselves because the plates were always coming out,” said her daughter, Vensenaray Grimes.
“She would bring the young men outside her house and talk to them, ‘Come here baby, let me talk to you,’ and she would give her heart to him,” her son Telly Grimes said.
The day is moving for his children.
“Four years on September 4 of his passing, so it was a great time for us to have him around his passing,” Vensenaray remarked.
After the ceremony, family, friends and community members gathered for a block party to continue celebrating Grimes.
Some gathered inside the community garden of love that she started as a place of safety and peace.
“She just wanted it to be a place where we could get together and if something was happening in the world, you could come here and be off and have a good time,” her daughter said. The family says Grimes took in neighborhood kids and stopped them from dealing drugs in the neighborhood. She gave them hope.
“She was a capeless superhero,” her son said.