Detroit grandma wants to make people aware of the reality: ‘If we don’t open our eyes and see what’s going on, it’s just going to keep on happening.’
A Detroit grandma has 10 grandchildren who are rightfully fearful about the violence they see and hear in the America around them. Larethia Haddon, who is black, decided to put her annual Halloween display to good use, highlighting and prompting conversations about the country’s horrors.
Grandchildren Motivate Detroit Grandma
Haddon’s grandchildren enumerated the horrors for her, beginning with this statement:
They said: we’re not afraid of the boogeyman anymore. We’re afraid of these things that are going on.
They are afraid to drink the tap water at home in Detroit because:
We live so close to Flint.
So an old, shaggy-haired man sits in a lawn chair, cradling a glass of dirty water with one hand and holding a sign that reads:
Flint water. Nobody deserves this.
— Hector Solon (@HectorSolon) October 6, 2016
For two years, Flint has been living with contaminated, dirty water that is unfit for drinking or washing. The Detroit grandma is intimately familiar with the problem and the lack of action. She says:
I’ve been living a lot of years, I’ve seen a lot of things, I have family who lives in Flint, so all this means a lot to me.
All of it. Take the bloody corpse on her doorstep with the sign “My hands Were up.” His hands still are up, frozen in that position.
The Situations Are Heartbreakingly Real
Even more shocking is the woman sitting on the ground with two blood-soaked children — one apparently a boy wearing a Mickey Mouse shirt with his head in the woman’s lap, the other an infant swaddled in receiving blankets. That sign reads, “Stop Killing Our Children.”
Grandmother's scary Halloween display drawing attention on Mendota Street on Detroit. pic.twitter.com/qq9hmtm070
— Sandra McNeill (@SandMcNeill) October 4, 2016
And then there’s the dark figure by the front porch, holding a fake knife. His sign says, “I See Your Children,” and he came about because the grandkids told Haddon that they were afraid to go outside to play.
The children live with non-stop fear:
My grandbaby Ciera says to me, ‘Grandma, there’s too many babies being killed.
DeAndre’ asked me, ‘Why are all our fathers and brothers being killed? I don’t understand, Grandma.’
The Detroit grandma may not understand, either, or have the answers, but she’s determined to put a spotlight on the questions. The display has captured a lot of people’s attention, some of whom called the police out of fear the dummies were real people. Haddon said:
If you’re going to get this much attention, you need to do something that’s going to make people aware of the situations that are going on. If we don’t open our eyes and see what’s going on, it’s just going to keep on happening.
We have to start reaching out and helping each other. If we don’t, this scene in my yard is going to continue to be a reality.
Haddon has gotten a lot of support and ‘thank you’s from the community for what she’s doing. Sometimes, the situation gets very personal. She told WJBK News:
A lady was standing out here yesterday looking at the scene, and she was just crying, just breaking down in tears. So I came out and I just held her.
Viewers Have Come By The Hundreds
Hundreds of people have come by to see the display. Every Wednesday, members of her church gather in front of Haddon’s home to pray for the city of Detroit. She hoped for her message to go nationwide, but it has gone international with a story appearing in Britain’s The Guardian and pictures of her yard flooding Twitter.
Even though the display will be gone with the beginning of a new month, Haddon’s message will hopefully carry on:
This is my way of speaking out. And I just want people to get this message that we’ve got to come together, you know? When you see something going on, don’t just turn your eyes away from it like you don’t see it.
See something? Say something. Twelve months a year.
Feature photo from @SandMcNeill on Twitter.