Things That Matter

Immigrant And Father Douglas Rodríguez Is One Of The Victims Of The Tragic Jersey City Shooting

Douglas (Miguel) Rodríguez had spent the last three years in the United States building a community when he was gunned down by a reported act of domestic terrorism at a Jersey City Jewish deli. Rodríguez was one of three victims of what is believed to have been an anti-Semitic and anti-police shooting by suspects David Anderson and Francine Graham. At one point, David Anderson was a follower of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a Black supremacist group. Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said that Anderson and Graham started their spree in a cemetery just a mile away from the deli, where they encountered and killed Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Seals. Then, they drove a U-Haul van down to JC Kosher Supermarket, parked across the street, and Anderson was reportedly seen stepping outside the driver’s side with a long gun. Anderson began firing as he entered the market with Graham trailing in his footsteps. For hours, Anderson and police engaged in a shootout that finally ended when police used an armored vehicle to drive into the entrance of the store. Police found several firearms and even a pipe bomb within the suspects’ possession. Both suspects were found dead inside the store

Rodríguez was caught in the crossfires. He had been working at the JC Supermarket for about a year when Anderson and Graham allegedly opened fire. 

The family has organized a GoFundMe to raise money for Rodríguez’s funeral and for the family and maintain financial normalcy for young Amy.

CREDIT: VANESSA REYES / GOFUNDME

The Rodríguez family arrived in the United States from Ecuador just three years ago in search of a better life. Rodríguez’s niece, Vanessa Reyes, says that Rodríguez’s “first goal was to allow his daughter to have a chance of a future through education. He exemplified hard work by continuously working and providing for his family. Regardless of the hours he worked, Miguel seemed to find the time to come together with family. His desire to create a better sense of family for his daughter, Amy, remained his number one objective.” Reyes has organized a GoFundMe to help his wife, Martha, and daughter, Amy, bury Rodríguez in his hometown of Guayaquil, Ecuador, and to help keep them on their feet while they mourn and search for another source of income.

At the time of publication, the family has raised $146,550 in less than a week.

The family was already calling Rodríguez a hero before witnesses came forward to affirm that Rodríguez was a hero to them, too.

CREDIT: @XAVIER_RUIZ21 / TWITTER

How are you going to go like this uncle?” Rodríguez’s nephew tweeted on the day of his death in Spanish. “You are an icon and un referente in the family … a role model … you do not know the pain and emptiness I feel at the moment … but I will remember you like this with a GREAT SMILE !! As you always were! ; An inseparable kiss and hug over there to heaven. I love you Miguel!”

Several days later, the Rodríguez family met with members of the Jewish community to learn about Miguel’s final moments. “Miguel died after heroically putting the lives of others before his,” Reyes said in a fundraiser update. “For some reason, this does not come as a shock to the family. Miguel has always been the man in the family to selflessly put others before him. Miguel’s life has followed a pattern of selflessness.”

“We will miss Miguel’s laughter and his compassion,” Reyes said, adding that, “Most importantly, we will miss the sense of security he provided for those he loved.”

CREDIT: @XAVIER_RUIZ21 / TWITTER

“Our family has been maintaining a sense of normalcy and comfort through these tough times by being together,” Reyes wrote. “He was a God-loving, honest and hard-working person who was always available to help others,” she added. Alongside Rodríguez, both Mindy Ferencz, 31, and Moshe Deutsch, 24, were killed in the attack. Ferencz and her husband managed the JC Kosher Supermarket. The two other victims were members of the Hasidic Jewish community. City footage shows the shooters driving slowly down the street from the cemetery shooting to the supermarket, passing several pedestrians, offering more evidence that the Kosher market was a target for the attack. Media outlets are reporting anti-police and anti-Jewish sentiments on his social media pages. 

We are mitú has not seen the alleged anti-police posts and cannot attest to whether they were violent or simply Black Lives Matter posts. You can donate to Douglas Miguel Rodriguez’s GoFundMe here.

READ: Horrific Footage Shows Police Officers Shooting Teen In The Back Of The Head And His Partner’s Response Is Shocking

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Emma González Is In A New Documentary About Gun Control Called ‘Us Kids’

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Emma González Is In A New Documentary About Gun Control Called ‘Us Kids’

ANGELA WEISS / Getty

Two years ago in 2018, American activist Emma Gonzalez marked the headline of every news organization. As a victim of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland Florida, Gonzalez garnered national attention on February 17, 2018, after giving an 11-minute speech at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In the days, weeks, months, and years since delivering her speech, Gonzalez has made waves with her activism.

Now, the activist who is now in college is the star of a documentary directed by Kim A. Snyder called Us Kids.

Us Kids, which received a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival this past January is available to be screened on the Alamo Drafthouse virtual screening platform.

Us Kids is available to be screen on Alamo on Demand on October 30.

The film follows the stories of the students behind Never Again MSD. The student-led organization is a group advocating for regulations that work to prevent gun violence and includes Latino activists like Emma González and Samantha Fuentes. Both teens are survivors of the shooting that took place Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florid where 17 students and staff members were killed by a gunman.

In a review about the film, Variety writes that it “primarily celebrates that resilient, focused energy from teenagers who proved perhaps surprisingly articulate as well as passionate in thrusting themselves into a politicized spotlight. It’s more interested in their personalities and personal experiences than in the specific political issues wrestled with. Like ‘Newtown,’ this sometimes results in a repetitious directorial expression of empathy, particularly in the realm of inspirational montages set to pop music. Still, the subjects are duly admirable for their poise and intelligence as Snyder’s camera follows them over 18 months, in which they go from being “normal-ass kids doing normal-ass things” to a high-profile movement’s leading spokespeople.”

The trailer for the documentary was released on Oct. 22 and introduces the survivors of the shooting.

Fuentes, who was an 18-year-old senior at the time of the shooting, speaks about her experience recalling that “I was thinking about how we were going to get out if he was going to come back, was I going to die.”

“As compelling as Hogg and González are (and as touching as their friendship is — they’re each other’s biggest boosters), it might’ve been nice if ‘Us Kids’ had itself strayed farther from the mainstream media narrative in emphasizing less-familiar faces. Considerable screen time is dedicated to Samantha Fuentes, who was hit by bullets but lived while close friend Nick Dworet died next to her,” Variety explains. “She provides a relatable perspective in being occasionally less-than-composed in the public glare (we see her upchuck at the podium a couple times). Still, there are peers frequently glimpsed in the background who never seem to get a word in, while Snyder keeps the established, semi-reluctant ‘stars’ front and center.”

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A 13-Year-Old Boy Was Shot Point-Blank, Unprovoked In His Front Yard; His Family Demands Answers From Police

Things That Matter

A 13-Year-Old Boy Was Shot Point-Blank, Unprovoked In His Front Yard; His Family Demands Answers From Police

Brayan Zavala/Photo: GOFUNDME

A family in Riverdale of Clayton County, Georgia is expressing frustration at the lack of progress the police have made in finding the killer of 13-year-old son Brayan Zavala. “We want justice,” said Brayan’s 16-year-old brother, Jesus. “We want to find whoever killed my brother so he can go to jail and pay for what he did.”

According to the deceased boy’s family, last Thursday, Brayan had been working on the front lawn with his brother and father when a masked gunman approached the property. The gunman didn’t answer when Brayan’s father asked him what he wanted. Instead, unprovoked, the stranger took out his shotgun and shot Brayan at point-blank range in the face. Stunned, the family tried to fight for Brayan’s life as the gunman fled the scene.

“The shooter didn’t even say I want your money, or this is a robbery or I’m assaulting you. He just came, stood there (in) silence and shot my brother.” his 16-year-old brother, Jesus, explained to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “We tried to stop all the blood but by the time the police got here, it didn’t seem like he had life or a chance to live.”

The children of Mexican immigrants, the death is especially tragic. “We decided to live here for a better life, turns out it is worse,” Jesus told local news station Fox 5. “This is just like Mexico. They kill because they wanna kill. That is what just happens.”

According to Jesus, Brayan was a A-student on the honor roll, always trying to stay out of trouble. “Me, my brother, my sister, we study and then do our chores, and study. We’re just focused on doing the things, you know, productivity. And going somewhere,” said Jesus told local news station Fox 5.

“He was a cheerful kid. Always smiling, joking. Like I said, always avoiding problems instead of causing problems. I don’t know why this happened to him.”

The senseless killing has shaken the community who don’t understand what would provoke an inexplicable murder of a child. Law enforcement, as well, can’t make sense of it.

“As a Clayton County police officer for over 38 years very little shocks me. But, this brutal, senseless murder has overwhelmed me,” a Clayton County Police officer named Doug Jewett wrote to the AJC. “I send my prayers to the family.”

As of now, the family is trying to pick up the pieces of their life, setting up a GoFundMe page to finance Brayan’s funeral costs. The Clayton County police department has asked anyone with information to call (770) 477-4479. As of now, no suspects have been reported or arrested, and the family is calling for justice.

“It’s been a week now since my brother died and I haven’t heard anything, no answers from police,” Jesus told Atlanta 11 Alive news. “It makes me feel really frustrated that they don’t think it’s a big deal. I mean, they killed my little brother.”

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