This GoFundMe was established on behalf of Roque Rodriguez by his friends and the People. Roque is a friend, husband, mentor, community leader, co-founder of a Yoga studio (Suryaside Yoga and Wellness), passionate activist, and much more. Even in the face of his vulnerability as a Black man in the U.S., Roque has given himself over and over again to fight for the most vulnerable communities (BIPoC, immigrants, incarcerated people, and more). Words cannot express what Roque truly means to the community and what he truly means to us. Now, having been injured while protesting injustice, he needs us to stand up for him.
Below, we detail the events that lead to Roque’s injuries, followed by the list of expenses we hope to cover with your help.
On December 11, 2020 in New York, Roque Rodriguez marched in solidarity with detainees at the Bergen County Jail who have been on hunger strike protesting their mistreatment at the hands of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). At about 4:00 PM that afternoon, a driver (a woman from Queens named Kathleen Castillo) rammed her car into the crowd of about 50 protesters leaving at least six people injured — including Roque, who was seriously injured and sustained broken bones. None of the police officers present acted as first responders to check whether the injured protestors were bleeding, hurt, dead or alive. The physical pain and injuries from that incident that Roque sustained are accompanied by the psychological trauma of first having been viciously attacked by a fellow civilian who showed no concern for the life of those protesting, and then being abandoned by the authorities designated and paid by tax dollars to “protect and serve.” The emotional harm done by this double violence has made Roque’s recovery that much more challenging.
We, the People, are trying to raise $10,000 to cover Roque’s expenses while he recovers. Due to this physically and emotionally traumatic event, Roque will not be able to return to work for at least 6 weeks, or until medically cleared. Roque is a Yoga instructor, making his job intrinsically dependent on his body and mental well-being. The COVID-19 crisis has limited Roque’s ability to work online Yoga classes, but even that has been taken from him now.
Funds raised will go towards the following:
-Medical expenses and rehabilitation therapy including physical therapy, acupuncture, mental health therapy.
-Rent and groceries.
-Maintaining the Yoga studio he co-founded, Suryaside Yoga and Wellness Studio (i.e. overhead costs)
More about Roque:
Being the son of Dominican-American immigrants and proud product of Paterson, New Jersey, Roque consistently has embodied the spirit of community and serving others. Prior to moving to Queens, NY, he dedicated years to mentoring youth in New Jersey. His desire to help the underserved and under-resourced did not stop there. Roque became a Yoga instructor and successfully co-founded Suryaside Yoga and Wellness in Woodside, NY. After building a solid foundation at Suryaside, he created a program to bring Yoga teachings to those being held at Rikers Island through a group named Liberation Prison Yoga. Roque’s selfless commitment to others went even further; he created the I Can Breathe Yoga program, offering Yoga training scholarships specifically to BIPoC who want to provide teachings to their communities. He is beyond a compilation of good deeds spread across his lifetime.
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Roque quickly mobilized and traveled directly to Minneapolis, helping the community most affected through different food pantries. This unforgettable experience catapulted him to work even harder to help those in New York where he is constantly on the ground leading protests supporting black lives, leading the conversation in Restorative/Transformative Justice within organizing groups, and providing support through multiple mutual aid initiatives.
We ask you to join us in showing up for the man who never fails to show up for others. We love you, Roque!
Roque the Writer
Roque in Minneapolis buying groceries after raising funds for a local food pantry
Roque prepping meals for a building in Astoria Houses that was w/o cooking gas for months
Roque the Yogi
- Stephanie Kwok
Organizer and beneficiary
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