Breonna Taylor (Credit: Social Media)

Breonna Taylor remembered by NYC mourners on what would be her 27th birthday

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Published in The New York Post on June 5, 2020

Anti-police brutality protesters in New York City paid their respects on Friday to Breonna Taylor, a black EMT who was fatally shot by cops in her home in Kentucky home — grieving her at memorials in Brooklyn and Manhattan on what would have been her 27th birthday.

Taylor, 26, had been sleeping with her boyfriend on March 13 in Louisville when three plainclothes cops burst into her home on a no-knock warrant; she was accidentally shot eight times.

None of the officers involved in the shooting have been arrested, though they have been placed on administrative leave. The FBI said it was investigating the shooting in May “due to a number of media requests.”

Steve Conrad, the former chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department, was later fired after cops killed another Louisville resident, David McAtee, a black man who ran a popular barbecue business frequently patronized by local law enforcement.

“It’s very frustrating, it’s heartbreaking. It’s a smack in the face, actually, to know that these officers are still being paid to do a job that they failed at,” said Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer in an interview Friday with The 19th.

A massive crowd gathered at the Old Farley Post Office to sing “Happy Birthday” to Taylor — whose name has also become a fixture as Black Lives Matter protesters have gathered to demand justice after the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd.

Another crowd was seen standing in the rain at Domino Park in Williamsburg for a 27-minute moment of silence in her memory — also sending off pink balloons to celebrate the health worker’s birthday.

“Say her name!” an organizer chanted into a megaphone.

“Breonna Taylor!” the crowd chanted back.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan preaches resilience as he visits victims injured in Tribeca bike path terror attack

Published in the New York Daily News on Nov. 1, 2017

Victims injured in the bike path terror attack got a special visit Wednesday from Timothy Cardinal Dolan, who urged New Yorkers to focus more on the city’s recovery than the attack.

Dolan stopped by Bellevue Hospital, where bicyclists and bystanders were recovering after being mowed down by a truck driver a day before in deadly terrorist strike in lower Manhattan.

“You never ever want to lose your sense of sadness and somberness,” Dolan said on his way into the hospital.

“There needs to be shock and there is. But you know when I first got here nine years ago, the first time I went through a 9/11 ceremony, the priest where I went, St. Peters, said ‘you know what’s more important than 9/11, 9/12, the day after 9/11. New Yorkers rallied. They got out of bed, and kept at it. There always seems to be resilience. There always seems to be a let’s keep living in hope that I admire.”

Dolan said he planned to encourage the injured.

“First of all, if they’re Catholic I’m going to ask, `Would you like the sacrament?’ The sacrament of the anointing of the sick is very powerful. I’m going to see if they want holy communion. If they’re not Catholic, I’m still going to say that we love you. That all of New York is praying for you. You’re not alone. Not only are we with you, the Lord is with you.”

The cardinal said he also had a message for the alleged suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, 29, although Dolan did not meet with him.
Sources said Saipov was celebrating the attack while recovering from a gunshot wound he suffered when he was apprehended by cops.
“I have a lot of concerns about his soul and I hope he does,” Dolan said. ” We can’t hide the anger that all of us have. And yet I have to listen to the man I follow, who also happens to be true man and true God and try to forgive. I understand he has a wife and family and my heart goes out for them, but boy oh boy that can’t soften the sense of horror and condemnation we have for what he’s done.”
Diddy speaks at a school in Harlem (Photo by Adam Schrader)

Sean (Diddy) Combs kicks off first day of new Harlem charter school he co-founded

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Published in The New York Daily News on Aug. 30, 2016

Rap mogul and would-be educator Sean (Diddy) Combs delivered a rousing speech Monday to kick off the first day of classes at a new charter school he co-founded in his old Harlem neighborhood.

Speaking from a podium onstage in the student auditorium at Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School, Combs told dozens of students and staffers that their school would change the world, starting with the people right there in the room.

“Great schools and great education make a big difference,” Combs told the cheering crowd. “Unfortunately, too many people don’t get the opportunity to succeed, no matter how hard they try. This is leveling the playing field here at Capital Prep.”

Combs, 46, was born in a public housing project in Harlem and raised in Mount Vernon.

He first gained fame as founder of Bad Boy Entertainment, a record label that released music by The Notorious B.I.G. and a slew of hit artists in the 1990s.

Combs had no background in education until he started work on Capital Prep Harlem in 2014. Besides his work in music, Combs has found success in a number of ventures including his Sean Jean clothing line.

He founded the new Harlem school in partnership with Connecticut educator. Dr. Steve Perry, who previously created a successful charter school in Hartford.

Perry, who frequently appears on television and writes books and articles on education, founded Capital Preparatory Magnet School in 2005.

The Hartford school features a no-excuses approach to student discipline and extended instructional time for students. It will serve as a model for Capital Prep Harlem.

“The advantages (of having a celebrity like Combs) are clear,” Perry said. “Mr. Combs has made a significant commitment to this.”

Capital Prep Harlem admitted 176 students in sixth and seventh grades for its first year of classes. Students were chosen from a random lottery of roughly 1,000 applicants.

The charter will expand to enroll about 700 students in grades 6-12 by the year 2021, school officials said.

Traditional public schools in the city begin classes next Thursday, but New York City Charter School Center CEO James Merriman said class is already in session for roughly half of the city’s 216 charters.

“It’s this hard work and innovative spirit that makes the charter sector what it is,” Merriman said.