NEW YORK — Governor Cuomo announced the recipients of the Carey Gabay Scholarship hours after two deadly shootings at the annual J’Ouvert celebration in Brooklyn early Monday.
The scholarship was designed in memory of Gabay – who died one year ago after he was shot along the J’Ouvert route.
“We had more violence and more death last night, and I think in some ways, the cruelest situation is when you can predict the violence and you can predict the death and you still can’t do anything about it, and I hope this is a wake up call,” Cuomo said. “Carey Gabay should not have died in vain. We should’ve gotten the message. The violence last night, we need to get the message.”
Brooklyn residents Tyreke Borel, 17, and Tiarah Poyau, 22, were gunned down early Monday along the bustling parade route. Gabay was one of several people killed along the route last year.
Cuomo hopes that Gabay’s memory will live on in the students awarded the scholarship in his memory. Gabay grew up in public housing in the Bronx. He graduated from both Harvard University and Harvard Law School. Gabay worked as assistant counsel to Cuomo and then as deputy counsel to the Empire State Development Corporation.
“Carey worked hard, overcame adversity and chose public service as a way to improve the lives of his fellow New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “He was an inspiration to every single person he came in contact with, and we are proud to award this scholarship in his honor to help other students who grew up in similar circumstances strive, succeed and lead.
Each of the five scholarship recipients exemplifies Carey’s commitment to social justice, Cuomo said. They’ve also succeeded academically despite having an economically disadvantaged background. The scholarship covers tuition at SUNY colleges, room and board, college fees and books.
Though none of the students grew up in the Bronx like Gabay, two of the students are from New York City. Ramanjot Bal, who’s headed for Stony Brook University, immigrated to Queens from India as a six-year-old girl. She works in a tax office to help support her family. Bal also works as a translator for many in her Richmond Hill neighborhood.
Fernando De La Cruz, a Washington Heights resident, will attend SUNY Cortland. He’s the son of undocumented immigrants and was frequently homeless when he was younger. De La Cruz teaches capoeira and tutors kids.
The other recipients are Narelys Chum, a Troy resident who will attend Suny New Paltz; Tony Kelley, an Albany resident headed for UAlbany who lost a family member to gun violence and Nayelhi Sanchez-Lorenzo, an immigrant and Rockland County resident who will attend SUNY Binghamton.
Three of the students marched with Governor Cuomo in today’s West Indian Day Parade. Two of the students already started classes.