On All President’s Day, thousands of New Yorkers took advantage of the fact they did not have to go to work today and gathered to protest “Not My President’s Day Rally” in front of Trump International Hotel at Columbus Circle in Manhattan. The purpose of the rally was meant as a show of rejection of the Donal J. Trump administration.
Please follow the link to my images gallery of the event at New York’s Columbus Circle. You may also follow an additional link, which takes you to the Spanish language daily, El Diario NY, which covered the event and published one of my photographs.
Thousands join ‘I am a Muslim too’ rally in Times Square, with many carrying signs in disapproval of the Donald J. Trump administration. Many rally participants carried home-made sign to take their solidarity with each other to the streets.
I Am A Muslim Too Rally amongst the dignitaries and speakers were Susan Sarandon, Russell Simmons, and New York City First-Lady, Chirlane McCray. Prominently showing support for the Muslim community were many from New York’s Jewish community.
Steven McDonald, a New York City Police officer, who was shot and paralyzed from the neck down thirty-years ago by a 15-year-old boy in Central Park, died on Tuesday in Manhasset, N.Y. He was 59.
Detective McDonald was hospitalized four days earlier after suffering a heart attack in his home in the village of Malverne in Nassau County, New York. McDonald’s death was caused by complications from the July 12, 1986 shooting, which left him a quadriplegic. McDonald’s death, at North Shore University Hospital, was announced by Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill.
McDonald remained in the public’s eye for many years after his tragic injury and he later forgave his assailant: McDonald hoped for the youth’s redemption. McDonald’s assailant was arrested, and as a juvenile offender, convicted of attempted murder of a police officer. McDonald’s assailant served eight and half years in prison before his parole in 1995: he faced ten years under guidelines for sentencing juvenile offenders. Four days after his parole, the assailant died of head injuries he sustained the previous day in a speeding motorcycle crash.
McDonald is survived by his wife Patricia, his only son Conor, who is currently a New York City police sergeant, and his father, a retired New York City police sergeant.
On Friday, January 13, 2017, a funeral mass was held for Office Steven McDonald at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, with Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan the main celebrant.
Please follow this link to images of those who came to pay their respect outside the cathedral.
The last New York City Police Academy graduation of 2016, was held today at Madison Square Garden. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner James P. O’Neill addressed the rookies and welcomed them to the force, which they will join immediately after the ceremony as probationary police officers.
Among the 555 graduates was Officer Paradine, who served in the United States Marine Corps and is a Purple Heart recipient. Paradine was deployed in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated and wounded the former Marine. Also graduating this day were 143 Latinos from the New York City area. The graduating class was just in time for deployment to the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square.
Please follow the link to a small photos gallery of the graduating class.
New York’s 72nd Annual Columbus Day Parade led by Grand Marshal Robert LaPenta, and Honorees Mario Batali and Federica Marchionni, celebrates Italian-American Heritage.
New York’s Columbus Day Parade is the world’s largest celebration of Italian-American culture and achievement with over 35,000 participants and 1 million spectators, which marched up Fifth Avenue from 47th street to 72nd street.
Kicking of the celebration was New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill at 47th Street and Fifth Avenue. Commissioner O’Neill was joined by New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The Columbus Day Parade in New York City is organized by the Columbus Citizens Foundation, a non-for-profit organization dedicated to the celebration of Italian heritage and the creation of opportunities for younger Italian Americans, provided through their scholarship program, which provides assistance to over 700 students annually.
Please follow this link to view a small images I made of the event: Columbus Day 2016.
New York City Police Academy, in College Point, New York, graduates ninety-five new recruits including members of U.S. Virgin Islands Police Department.
On September 29, 2016, the New York City Police Academy graduated 95 police recruits to the rank of police officer. The new police officers will now join the ranks amongst New York’s Finest: the NYPD. The graduating class was one of the smallest graduating class in recent New York City Police (NYPD) history. It was also one of the most culturally and racially diverse group of new police officers. Congratulations to the graduating class of September 29, 2016.
Please follow this link to view of a small photos gallery of the graduating class: PA Graduation 2016.
NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton is honored with a ceremonial send-off on his last day at work as Commissioner of New York City’s Police Department.
William Bratton, the police commissioner, ended his illustrious law enforcement career with a ceremonial send-off on Friday, September 16, 2016 in front of One Police Plaza and in the city that was his biggest triumph. Police commanders lined up in formation outside of New York Police Department headquarters to bid farewell to the 68-year-old Bratton as he left the building for the last time. For complete coverage, please read the following New York Times article.
Photographs of Mentari Human Trafficking Survivor Program in action at the All Souls Church in New York City
For an understanding of what Human Trafficking is, Article 3, paragraph (a) of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons begins to lay the ground work of defining the act, or commission of “Human Trafficking.” The Protocol notes the coercion or exploitation of individuals, to include prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. The definitions contained in the Protocol are meant to provide consistency and consensus around the world on the phenomenon of trafficking in persons. Further, the Protocol calls for the local criminalization of any of the defined acts of Human Trafficking.
The term “human trafficking” is an umbrella term for the acts of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force or coercion. For a detailed definition as provided by the U.S. Department of State, please read its Trafficking in Persons Report 2013.
It may be surprising to some, but the United Nations only began addressing the phenomenon of Human Trafficking in the late 1990s when it issued a comprehensive strategy to combat Human Trafficking and migrant smuggling. Human Tracking is a crime most people fully do not understand, or care to hear about: there exists a general lack of awareness of the crime of Human Smuggling, and little empathy for the victims and survivors of said crime.
Many Human Trafficking victims are never heard from again, and simply vanish from society and our collective consciousness. However, there are also many survivors who are on the mend and weaving their way back to normalcy. I have met many Human Trafficking survivors through the local New York City nonprofit organization, Mentari Human Trafficking Survivor Empowerment Program, Inc. Mentari is dedicated to providing Human Trafficking survivors with direct services, education/training, advocacy initiatives, and mentorships. Directing Mentari through all of its advocacy and assistance programs for the many survivors are Randall Roca, President, and Shandra Woworuntu, Founder, Vice President, and Human Trafficking survivor.
Ms. Woworuntu is one of the strongest and most amazing people I have ever met. To learn more about Ms. Woworuntu’s plight and her story of survival, please read the BBC Magazine article chronicling her story. More recently, in 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Ms. Woworuntu to the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking.
The photographs I have taken of team Mentari are meant to document a story of survival and empowerment, rather than a story of victimization and marginalization. My work with team Mentari is intended to be a long-term project as I hope to be able to follow some of the many survivors as they re-enter society with a sense of purpose and normalcy. Please follow the following link to the photos gallery: Mentari, Images Gallery.
A very diverse crowd of gathered in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral to pay homage to Pope Francis on his 2015 New York visit. Crowds lined for hours along New York’s Fifth Avenue for the chance to see Pope Francis.
On September 24, 2015, a very diverse crowd of gathered in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral to pay homage to Pope Francis on his New York visit. Crowds lined for hours along New York’s Fifth Avenue hoping for a chance to see Pope Francis arrive at St Patrick’s in his so-called Pope-Mobile. All along the avenue, the Pope’s safety was ensured through the multi-agency law enforcement efforts, which included the New York City Police Department, the U.S. Secret Service, and Department Homeland Security, just to name a few. Once inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Pope Francis prayed the Evening Prayer at a Vespers service. New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio was on hand greet Pope Francis to New York City.