HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Marquesha Babers overlooked a parking lot, but not just any parking lot. It’s a scene of an old life she fought hard to overcome.
“Right now we are on Hollywood and western and this area has significance to me because this is where I used to stay when I was homeless,” she explained.
It’s been a journey of rock bottom to slow rising for Babers. Born into extreme poverty with her mother, Babers wants people to understand homelessness is not always about drug abuse, rather it is often about a lack of access to basic resources.
“When I was 15, I was trying to check myself into school, but I needed my shots records, my birth certificate, [and] my mama’s signature. I couldn’t get that because I was a run away from a dangerous situation, so what else am I supposed to do, you know what I mean?” she explained, detailing the complicated layers that can lead one to homelessness.
Currently one in every 30 children in the United States are experiencing homelessness, and Marquesha Babers experiences caused her to fit into that statistic.
Her story, alongside other Angelenos, is being featured in the new documentary film “American Street Kid,” which is out now on multiple streaming platforms.
Though Babers eventually found stability through the help of “Get LIT,” a youth poetry program, she said she will never forget some of her darkest moments, like the season in her life when she would sleep in the parking structure on Hollywood and Western to keep warm.
“This is one of them spots when you couldn’t find nothing else, no shelters open, nothing. This is one of them spots,” Babers described emotionally.
But she didn’t stay in that spot forever. Babers attributes writing and poetry as the passion that brought light to her life.
Her work as a poet has allowed her to travel extensively and perform for public figures like Hillary Clinton and Alicia Keys. Now, she’s empowering other at-risk youth in the area as a mentor.
Her main message to them is: “Find something that you love to do, if you stick to that, and focus on that, can’t nobody bring you down, cant nobody take that from you.”
Babers plans on bringing people up, one poetic perspective at a time.