Gambian community holds public funeral for 15 victims of the Bronx fire

Photos credit: Isseu Diouf Campbell

The Gambian community led by Imam Sanku Kabba and Imam Bajaha said their last goodbye to the 15 Twin Parks North West residents who lost their lives in the 19-story building on January 9, 2022.

The funeral held on January 18, exactly a week after the fire, was public, with the 15 caskets on display for everyone to see. A way for the West African immigrant community to show what years of disinvestment in communities of color and lack of accountability had birthed.

Several elected officials attended the event.

“What is happening here in the Bronx, it is what is happening here across our city in communities where Black, Brown, and immigrant people are,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “It is time to end those inequalities so we don’t have our babies and our families torn apart by tragedies.”

Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin announced the State has set up a victims’ compensation fund of 2 million dollars.

NYS Attorney General Letitia James called for accountability for the individuals responsible for neglecting the building and many other fires in the Bronx.

Senator Schumer and Congressman Torres shared that the American Embassy in the Gambia would reopen to allow the victims’ family members to come to New York City to grieve with their loved ones.

The Consul General of Senegal Elhadji NDao, Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, Congressman Espaillat, Senator Cordell Cleare, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams were also in attendance.

After a short prayer in the early afternoon, eleven caskets left the Islamic Cultural Center of the Bronx for Mount Prospect Cemetery. The four other victims will be taken to the Gambia where they will be buried.


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