This World For A Better Place

I know it’s been a long time since my last post, but a lot has been happening in school and outside of school. The spring semester is almost over with just two weeks of classes left and I honestly cannot wait for the Summer of 2010. Summer, however, is not the only thing that is on my mind.

There’s one very important thing that I feel the need to share. Call it advocacy if you will, but I have to share what happened because hopefully, it will make some change. On April 14th, 2010 a friend and former high school classmate, Jake McDonaugh, left us for a better place. He blessed this world since October 8th, 1991 with his presence, but from yesterday at approximately 9:30am, he will be blessing us from wherever he is now. Jake was riding his bicycle as he tried to cross Flatbush Avenue to Beverley Road in Brooklyn, NY. He crossed Flatbush Avenue on his green light, but Michael Oxley, a 28 year old “dollar van” driver, skipped a steady red light at the same time and intersection. As a result, his speeding van hit Jake who was wearing his helmet while riding the bicycle. The van hit him so hard that he never even had a chance to scream or avoid the tragedy. The van continued about half a block before stopping, dragging Jake and his bike along the asphalt for an 50 yards. Jake died on the scene and Michael Oxley has been arrested and charged with criminally negligent homicide.

Jake used to sell his artistic canvases in Soho as a way to earn a modest living while attending classes in Brooklyn College. Every time I went to Soho, I would purposely cross the street to see if he was there. I didn’t always buy his art, but I always wanted to just say “Hi” and see more of his talent. Though he has left this world for a better place, I will continue to cross the street purposely every time I am in Soho and each time will be in memory of him.

Perhaps what made me hurt the most was his father’s message to his friends:

“To all of Jake’s friends – many thanks for adding to the great memories of a really cherished boy. He made us proud and he did it by being real. He was fun, talented and loving. Someone took him away from us today, but they can’t take him out of our hearts. My adorable son…guess I will have to find him in my heart because I just can’t find him in his room anymore…

I never personally met Jake’s father, but I know for a fact that he was a responsible man who worked hard to make a living for both him and Jake. The two of them were always a team with inseparable ties. Yet, the act of an irresponsible driver has torn a family apart and left a honest and righteous man to live alone knowing that his beloved son left him before he could see the amazing adult that Jake would become.

So please, I beg everyone out there to be more careful. Whether you are a pedestrian, a cyclist, or a driver, your actions carry consequences that do not affect you exclusively. This is the second death that has involved one of my friends. Before Jake’s tragedy, Julie Tsang died approximately a month after her high school graduation when a drunk driver crashed into her friend’s car in which she was the passenger. Julie too was a promising teenager and that potential was taken away by an individual’s decision to be reckless and irresponsible. With that, I leave you to tell your friends about this so that these tragedies do not occur in vain and future accidents can be prevented. Thank you.

R.I.P. Jake McDonaugh

Oct. 8, 1991- Apr. 15, 2010

A talented artist, supportive friend, cherished son, and above all, a wonderful and promising man. You will be missed.

Jake putting on a pose in the nice weather.

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