New York City, NY

Lighting the Park for Dominique Alexander

Gianna Baez

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(NEW YORK, Ny.)

Trigger Warning: Mention of violence, death, and lynching to a BIPOC individual

On June 9, 2020, a pedestrian found 27-year-old Dominique Alexander hanging on a tree in Fort Tryon Park. Given a long history of lynching in the U.S., coupled with the hanging of Robert Fuller in California a few days earlier and the fact that nooses were found in Van Cortlandt Park, many speculated that Alexander – who went by the nickname “Domo”– had been lynched. After conducting a 66-minute investigation, local authorities declared Alexander’s death a hanging by suicide. The quick investigation left his family and community members confused and full of questions.

Shortly after his death, a group of community members, like Jasmine, convened to protest at the 34th precinct, demanding local authorities reopen Domo’s case. A year later, Jasmine continues fighting for answers and raising awareness about Alexander’s case within the group “Justice for Domo.” Jasmine, along with other organizers, are a group of people who came together because they understood the importance of Alexander’s story. They recognize that while similar to Fuller and the other murders of Black people in this country, Alexander’s case was a unique event: no video, no name, and a “history that’s constantly under the practice of erasure,” said Jasmine.

Jasmine said the group has stuck together through the last year not only to raise awareness about Alexander’s story, but ultimately to support his family with what they needed “versus what the general community thought was needed.” Their main priority in organizing efforts has been to give the family privacy but also support and advocacy. Last year, Alexander’s brother told the NY Daily News that “[Domo] was definitely loved by his family and his community. It’s just so much,” before declining further comment.

As Fort Tryon Park remains open until 1 am, with some areas completely unlit, ‘Justice for Domo’ is currently focused on getting lights installed, with a light specifically dedicated to Alexander in efforts to honor his name and story. While the group has held protests, vigils, and collected over 700 signatures from community members, Coles commented that the Fort Tryon Park trust has not prioritized the lighting initiative. The FTPT did not comment on where they are with the lighting initiative and there are no statements on their Facebook or Instagram commenting on Alexander’s death.

Moving forward, ‘Justice for Domo’ will continue collecting signatures and hope to have 1:1 convos with the park’s board members and funders to advance the lighting initiative. They’re even trying to get in contact with Bette Midler, one of the park’s biggest supporters.

The group urges members of the community and others who’d like to honor Dominique Alexander’s legacy:

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Hi there! I'm Gianna, a recent college grad living in NYC. Throughout my writing, I like to explore the intersection of storytelling and personal narratives with social justice issues. My stories focus on uplifting and amplifying BIPOC and other marginalized voices.

New York, NY
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