Street named in honor of longtime South Philly community activist

A South Philadelphia community activist is being honored four years after her death. She was known for her work with at-risk children and being a pillar of her community.

"It's a wonderful day for us. It is. She deserved this," said the Grimes family. They’re celebrating a huge honor for their mother Vendetta Grimes who passed away four years ago.

Friday, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson unveiled a street sign in honor of Grimes, who he says was a long-time 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 neighborhood, Ms. Grimes was elected block captain by her neighbors and served as a majority inspector for the 3rd Division of the 48th Democratic Ward for 35 years," Councilman Johnson said. Grimes is remembered for her community activism, mentoring troubled youth and serving others.

"She fed any and everybody, all the time. We've never had a single meal to ourselves because plates were always going out the door," said her daughter, Vensenaray Grimes.

"She would bring the young guys over in front of her house and talk to them, ‘Come here baby, let me talk to you,’ and she would give her heart," said her son Telly Grimes.

The day is emotional for her children.

"Four years, September 4th of her passing, so it was a great time for us to have it around her 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 she started as a place of safety and peace.

"She just wanted it to be a place that we could come together and if anything in the world was going on you could come here and be shut off and have a nice time," said her daughter. The family says Grimes took in neighborhood children and kept them from selling drugs on the block. She gave them hope.

"She was a superhero without a cape," her son said.