Fighting Crime – One Tamale at a Time

Baneen Zehra Rizvi, MLA+U '22


ARCH 541B: Landscape Architecture Design

Gallery: Re-wilding MacArthur Park

Instructor: Takako Tajima

Fighting Crime – one tamale at a time, is the title given by KCRW – a local Los Angles radio station; to Sandi Romero, more pre-dominantly known as “mama” of mamas hot tamales.

Westlake, in 1998’s was a neighborhood, overrun by gang members, drugs and lawlessness. Men sold illegal ID’s at every corner, and it was common for police pull out dead bodies out of the lake.

Romero came into what she refers as the “no man’s land”, with the objective of cleaning up the McArthur Park, and teaching the vendors how to make a living legally. She became the anchor to the community and Tamales became a symbolism, that now represented a sense of family coming together to fight crime.

She says and i quote “My American Dream is to create a better life for my community and help them realize their dream.”and in another interview mentioned “ A lady came up to me the other day and told me, she wont go to the park at night, because she is afraid. It broke my heart. Its time to roll up my sleeves.”

So this project is an attempt to carry Mama Romero’s torch forward.


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