Billy leaves behind two amazing children Jeremy Garcia (19 yrs old) & Esmerelda Garcia (14 yrs old). This fund will support Jeremy and Esmerelda to heal and grow in the wake of the loss of their beloved dad.
Jeremy is beginning college later this Summer & plans to use these funds to cover the cost of tuition and the supplies he needs for this next big step in his life. He may also take a trip to see family before heading to school.
Esmerelda would like to start saving for college herself. Beyond that she needs a computer for school and would like to sign up for some art classes to learn calligraphy and stenciling – just like her dad. Billy was incredibly talented in that way. Not many people knew that.
Billy loved his kids more than anything in this world and often took them to Yankee games.
Billy spent his life tirelessly caring for the most vulnerable people in his community. He was a Case Manager at Washington Heights CORNER Project serving people struggling with homelessness and drug use. Billy worked non-stop on and off the clock reversing countless overdoses, talking people out of suicide, getting hundreds of people into detox/rehab facilities and permanent housing, handing out food and clothing at homeless encampments, securing donations of clothing, coats, sleeping bags and backpacks for people who needed them most. In his own words "I live my job."
Billy had an amazing ability to make anyone he crossed paths with immediately feel comfortable and at ease. He would make you laugh, insist you try his mother's food and make you a plate, all the while his phone ringing off the hook and his clients yelling his name looking for him, while he tells you he'll "be right back" as he runs to go pick up a community meal to feed his participants.
Billy embodied community care as the antidote to the violence of our unjust, cruel society. He showed sincere love to the most marginalized members of the Washington Heights community, who are often quick to be ignored. Billy could connect with anyone because he never judged and always gave another chance. He advocated for clients and never hesitated to break some rules along the way for them. Like Melissa Vasquez, his close friend said at his vigil "if we all lived our lives like Billy did, the world would be a better place."
Please consider donating to the children of the man who spent his life giving to everyone around him. We are hoping to secure these funds within the next two weeks, since Jeremy will be starting college later this Summer.
The cover pic and first 2 photos are of Billy with his children, Jeremy and Esmerelda, as part of a photo series titled "Father Figure" by Zun Lee, a photographer who captures "Black everyday life and family spaces as sites of intimacy, belonging and insurgent possibility against cultural displacement and erasure."
The next is a memorial put together on the streets of Washington Heights by those who loved Billy and came together to grieve.
The 4th pic you might recognize as a subway ad by the NYC DOHMH to educate the public on naloxone. They could not have chosen anyone more appropriate for the campaign.
The last few are Esmerelda & Jeremy's favorite pictures of them together with their dad.
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- Carol Yang
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