The husband of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, the pregnant teen who was murdered before her infant son was cut from her womb, has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for their surviving baby’s medical care.
“I am very grateful to the entire community that was in the search of the death of my wife. I am grateful for the help that is being provided. With all my heart I keep asking for your help,” Yovani Lopez, who shares another child with the late Ochoa-Lopez, said on the crowdfunding page.
The campaign goal is $50,000, and three days after creating it, the family has raised $38,750.
“This will help that you will be giving me the future of my children. Thank you, My children will forever be grateful,” he wrote.
Lopez’s infant boy remains in grave condition at a local Chicago hospital after losing oxygen when he was forcefully taken out of his dead mother’s womb on April 23.
“The baby does have some brain activity, and he has recently — I think it was not last night but the night before, when his dad and his little brother was with him — he started to open his eyes,” says Emma Lozano, a spokesperson for the family.
People reports that Figueroa, 46, wanted a baby after losing her adult son to natural causes recently. For months, she had been faking her own pregnancy, posting ultrasound photos online. After first connecting with Ochoa-Lopez on April 1, she told her daughter, 24-year-old Desiree Figueroa, that she needed her help to kill the pregnant teen.
Authorities charged the mother and daughter with first-degree murder and aggravated battery of a child under 13 in the attack on Ochoa-Lopez.
As Lopez deals with the tragedy that resulted in the death of his wife and children’s mother, he is also forced to care for their first son and their critical newborn alone.
“Pray as my son Yovanny Jadiel recovers. Thank you very much for the prayers and support that you have given me. I have no more words of thanks,” he wrote on the GoFundMe.
Almost a year after her father Kobe Bryant passed, Natalia Bryant is gearing up for college and celebrating her life in progress. On Tuesday, to celebrate her daughter’s 18th birthday, Vanessa Bryant showered her daughter with tributes and words of wisdom in an Instagram post.
Vanessa posted a handful of tributes to Natalia on Instagram, including old photos of the 18-year-old her father, Kobe.
The late LA Laker, who died last year on Jan. 26 with his 13-year-old daughter (Gianna) and several others in a tragic helicopter crash, could be seen in the photos. In one of the images, Vanessa and Kobe held baby Natalia in an image taken on the Los Angeles Lakers court.
“Daddy’s little princess, Natalia. ❤️🎉🎂🎉#18#BirthdayGirl,” Bryant captioned one of the photos.
In another post, Vanessa expressed how proud she was of the woman Natalia has become.
“Mommy and Daddy are so proud of the young lady that you are. You have displayed so much strength and grace throughout the most difficult year of our lives,” she wrote in the post. “Thank you for stepping in to help me with your little sisters. You’re such an incredible big sister and a beautiful role model to so many people. Thank you for being kind, polite and gracious in everything that you do. You have no idea how happy and proud mommy and daddy are that you’re our daughter. We love you always and forever, forever and always. Happy 18th birthday to our first born, Natalia, our principessa!”
Last week, Bryant revealed that Natalia has college on the mind.
In a separate post shared to Instagram, Vanesa revealed that her daughter has New York on the mind when it comes to getting her Bachelor’s. “NYU is one of her top schools. (@nataliabryant chose not to apply ED to her top 5 schools). I will do my best to keep her in Cali just like I kept her daddy here,” she commented.
There’s no doubt that in the wake of her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gigi’s deaths, Vanessa Bryant and her family have received quite the outpour of support from fans. Look up just about any hashtag with their names and you’ll find hundreds of thousands of images of the two deceased Bryant family members and just about as many fan accounts. The images and tributes have meant to be a eulogy to the two basketball players that lost their lives too soon.
Yet, recently Vanessa Bryant revealed that the ongoing support hasn’t always been so positive for her.
In June, Vanessa Bryant opened up about having to take action and remove herself from all the social media love she and her family have received in the five months since her husband and daughter’s deaths.
In a post to her Instagram page, the mother of four, sent a note to fans to let them know that she and her 17-year-old daughter, Natalia, had decided to block fan pages in an effort to keep away from the constant pictures of Kobe and Gianna popping up on their “Explore” pages. In her post, Bryant underlined that she was only blocking the accounts to make sure she was continuing to heal and that it was not being done out of malice.
“Thx so much for all the [love]. @nataliabryant and I have unfortunately had to block fan pages because it’s been really hard to go online and constantly see pics of our beloved Gigi and Kobe under every single square of our explore pages. Blocking the fan pages has helped change the algorithm,” Bryant wrote in a post to her Stories on Instagram.
Vanessa continued to explain that “We [love] you all but please understand that we had to do this for our own healing not because we don’t appreciate your [love].”
Bryant’s Instagram page was made to be private soon after her husband’s death likely for similar reasons.
In a separate Instagram story to her own account Vanessa’s daughter Natalia shared, “We hope that people understand although these fan pages have good intentions, they make moving forward harder since they are constant reminders. Blocking the accounts have helped change the algorithm but we can not go public until the fan pages stop. We love all of your sweet intentions and we hope you understand.”
Understandably, Bryant and her daughter are sheltering themselves from further hurt during this time.
Here’s hoping their fans continue to support them through this decision and understand their motives. Fortunately, while Bryant and her daughter Natalia have made their accounts private, they are still making their content available through other pages. Recently, Bryant revealed that she had decided to pay tribute to her late husband and daughter Gigi by commemorating their lives with tattoos.
Last week, Bryant took to Instagram to reveal she’d made the decision to honor her husband and daughter with two new tattoos.
Both images were shared with the public via Nikko Hurtado, the artist behind Vanessa’s ink work.
“Shoutout to @nikkohurtado for coming over and helping me get my Gigi’s sweet message transferred on me,” she wrote in a caption to her Instagram page featuring a video of her new tattoo honoring her daughter. The details of the tattoo aren’t totally visible but in the comments, Bryant revealed that the tattoo features her late daughter’s handwriting. “So happy I can see my Gigi’s handwriting everyday ❤️ #mambacita,” she replied.
Bryant also shared a video of herself receiving another tattoo, this time for Kobe.
In a post to her Instagram page, Bryant shared another video of herself. This time the video revealed that she was actively receiving a shoulder tattoo that is meant to honor her husband.
“I wanted my boo boo’s @kobebryant sweet message transferred on me,” Bryant explained in the caption of the photo.
For fans of the Bryants it’s important to note that while Vanessa and Natalia aren’t looking at fan accounts, the art is still available for you to view if it makes you feel better during this time.
Additionally, fans who want to keep up with Vanessa and Natalia and see how they continue to heal can follow friend accounts or stay in touch with us for updates!
Undocumented communities are being left out of Covid relief plans. Chef Diana Dávila of Mi Tocaya in Chicago is working to help undocumented restaurant worker in the time of Covid. Abuse of undocumented workers is rampant in certain industries and Chef Dávila hopes to offer some kind of help.
Mi Tocaya is a Mexican restaurant in Chicago’s Logan Square that wants to help the community.
Covid-19 has devastated the hospitality industry with restaurants being hit exceptionally hard. Restaurants have been forced to close their doors for good as the virus dragged on with no decent relief plan from the federal government. As several countries financially support citizens to avoid economic disaster, the U.S. government has given citizens $1,800 total to cover 10 months of isolating and business closures.
Namely, Mi Tocaya is working to help the undocumented community.
Mi Tocaya, a family-run restaurant, is teaming up with Chicago’s Top Chefs and local non-profits Dishroulette Kitchen and Logan Square Neighborhood Association. The goal is to highlight the issues facing the undocumented community during the pandemic.
The initiative called Todos Ponen, is all about uplifting members of our community in a time of severe need. The restaurant is creating healthy Mexican family meals for those in need.
”We asked ourselves; How can we keep our doors open, provide a true service to the community, maintain and create jobs, and keep the supply chain intact by supporting local farmers and vendors. This is the answer,” Chef Dávila said in a statement. “I confidently believe The TODOS PONEN Logan Square Project addresses all of the above and can very well be easily implemented in any community. Our goal is to bring awareness to the lack of resources available to the undocumented workforce- the backbone of our industry.”
Mi Tocaya is offering 1000 free meals for local farmers and undocumented restaurant workers. The meals are available for pickup Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 2800 W Logan Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647. to make this happen, Mi Tocaya also needs your help.
The restaurant has teamed up with two nonprofits to make sure that they can scale their operation to fulfill their commitment. They are also asking for donations to make sure they can do what they can to help undocumented restaurant workers.
According to Eater LA, 8 million restaurant workers have been laid off since the pandemic started. Some restaurants have had to lay off up to 91 percent of their staff because of Covid, about 10 percent of those are undocumented. In the cities, that number is as high as 40 percent of the laid-off restaurant staff are undocumented.
“People don’t want to talk about the undocumented workforce, but they’re part of our daily routine in most restaurants,” Jackson Flores, who manages the operations of Mi Tocaya, said in a statement. “They are in the toughest position in the whole economy because they’re an invisible part of it. Restaurant worker advocacy groups have added the creation of relief funds to their agendas, but there have yet to be long-term changes in protections for undocumented workers. Without access to unemployment benefits and other government resources, this group is especially vulnerable.”