Bodies that are Long Dead

March 02,2010
Talia's Blog
Talia Rivera( )

Talia Rivera is a 33-year-old mother of two. As Executive Director of Villages without Walls, she works with high-risk gang members in Boston. [Read more]

The boys and girls sat on the steps of a project building, talking about how they hated Plaza Park. "Why don't you like Plaza Park?" I asked "They killed my man Ace," said one girl. I was stunned. "You don't even know Ace. He died in 1995. You were, like, six!" No one responded. The projects change. My friends grew up and moved out. There are new families. Today's gang members were just children — running, riding bikes, and playing in parks — when I hung there. Now, they were claiming Cathedral Rockies. They still wear the Colorado Rockies' baseball caps that we wore. What we started became generational. It all began in the summer of 1995, when we had the first youth homicide in the projects. The streets said that Angel [Ace was his street name] was standing outside the hallway with friends of ours when a gang rival, allegedly a Plaza Park boy, stood several feet away and began shooting. Angel, at age 18, was dead. And that started the feud. This is happening throughout the city of Boston. Children, the younger siblings and cousins of former gang members, are picking up gang wars that we left behind. They are angry over dead bodies from 20 years ago. Angry over people they didn't even know.