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

Latino Police Officer In New Jersey Is Setting Up Drive-By Birthdays And The Children Are Loving Them

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Latino Police Officer In New Jersey Is Setting Up Drive-By Birthdays And The Children Are Loving Them

Fair Lawn Police Department / Facebook

The various lockdown orders across the country are forcing children to stay home during their birthdays. This also means that people aren’t able to come over the celebrate with them. One police officer in New Jersey is making what could be a sad time for the kids a time to remember.

Police officer Luis Vasquez is giving children in Fair Lawn, New Jersey a birthday to remember while in quarantine.

The Fair Lawn Police Department is joining other departments in performing birthday drive-bys. If you have a child ages 10 or younger, celebrating a birthday during this self-quarantine, please reach out to P.O. Luis Vasquez at lvasquez@fairlawnpd.com We will make every effort to set up a social distancing celebratory drive-by with lights and sirens! Hopefully, this will help make your child's day a little brighter like Javen in this video 💙 Happy Birthday Javen 🎈===========#flpd #ourcommunity

Posted by Fair Lawn Police Department on Monday, April 6, 2020

How awesome is that? It is clear that the children are really enjoying the special show of love and celebration for their birthdays. They might not be able to jump in a bouncy castle with their friends but they can still feel special with first responders giving them a special show.

The gesture is warming hearts all over in the comments section.

Credit: Fair Lawn Police Department / Facebook

It truly does look so incredibly special. All of that special attention coming from the heroes children look up to is amazing.

Some people familiar with the police department are sending P.O. Vasquez some special love.

Credit: Fair Lawn Police Department / Facebook

It is very sweet to know that one man in the department is making sure that children have memorable birthdays right now. It is clear that P.O. Vasquez is really looking after his community during some of the craziest times.

People are touched by how generous the police department is with their time in making everyone’s birthday better.

Credit: Fair Lawn Police Department / Facebook

This is a very generous and kind gesture to give to the community. There is no doubt a lot of people who are scared of everything happening in the world right now and having some special attention on your birthday must feel nice.

Happy birthday to every person spending their special day in quarantine. We love you.

READ: A Woman Threw A Lowrider-Themed Party For Her Son’s First Birthday And It’s Just Too Much For Our Hearts

Parents Angered After Priest Refuses To Offer Autistic Son First Communion

Things That Matter

Parents Angered After Priest Refuses To Offer Autistic Son First Communion

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First Communion is a very important moment in any Catholic child’s life. The family gets together to watch the little ones walk down the church aisles in white and partake in the sacrament for the first time. For one family, however, a priest has taken that moment away from them because their child is autistic.

The LaCugna family is upset that their autistic son was denied his First Communion.

Credit: Jimmy LaCugna / Facebook

Jimmy LaCugna took to Facebook to share his disappointment with his church for denying his special needs son his First Communion. First Communion is one of the most important moments in a young Catholics life and the family feels like it has been taken away from them.

“They said there is no way he can make his Communion. He doesn’t understand what the Holy Communion is about,” Nicole LaCugna told News 12 New Jersey. “Nowhere in the Bible does it ever show discrimination of anybody.”

Since the Facebook post by Jimmy, the church tried to change course then deleted their reversal from Facebook.

Credit: Jimmy LaCugna / Facebook

Allegedly, the church released a statement that painted the LaCugna family as being dishonest about the situation. However, it was deleted from their Facebook page without warning.

The post initially stated that “new information has come to light” stating that children with intellectual and cognitive disabilities “should be presumed to have an inner spiritual relationship with God.”

“My heart shattered,” Nicole told the New York Post. “My first thought was, how do you take a child who was one of God’s children and say that he is not good enough, basically, to be making the sacrament?”

At the center of the controversy is the fact that Rev. John Bambrick made the decision but hasn’t addressed the family personally.

Credit: Facebook

In a statement posted to the church’s website, Rev. Bambrick blames the controversy on a breakdown of communication.

“With the guidance and support of Bishop David O’Connell, we were able to discern a way for the child to receive First Holy Communion without any delay,” Rev Bambrick stated. “We have made the family aware of this development and hope to be able to meet with them to discuss it. Their child continues to be welcome in our program, and will be able to receive First Holy Communion this year.”

Catholic parishioners have been shocked and dismayed by this church’s handling of a child with special needs.

Credit: @TaylorCVaughn / Twitter

The decision to withhold the child’s First Communion for mental or health issues isn’t the first time. A quick Google search brings back several cases of children being denied their First Communion because of mental or health issues.

READ: 21 Things Latinos From Catholic Families Know To Be True