One year ago, I was on my way to City Hall when I learned through social media about the tragedy that had just occurred. I immediately headed right back to this site.

On that tragic day, a year ago, eight lives were taken from us. Many were also injured.

In a time filled with anxiety, impotence and a sense of loss, my district office immediately became a safe haven for the families. We sprang into action to comfort and assist these families with the recovery efforts.

In a time of crisis, that’s what we do in El Barrio/East Harlem, we look out for each other and we take care of our own.

We are here to remember George Amadeo, Rosaura Barrios-Vazquez, Griselda Camacho, Rosaura Hernandez, Mayumi Nakamura, Andreas Panagopoulos, Alexis “Jordy” Salas and Carmen Tanco.

Nothing will bring them back, but we will always remember them. Their lives will always be remembered by this community.

These five women and three men made this city their home. And they all came together in one place ─ El Barrio/East Harlem.

They were mothers and daughters, they were musicians and students, they were security and health professionals, they were our neighbors.

As we remember them, we also continue to look out and care for their families and for those who were injured by the explosion.

We stand with you and we will never forget.

As difficult it is to relive that day…it’s equally comforting to remember just how quickly first responders arrived on the scene and how robust the outpouring of help was.

I will never forget our brave first responders: our fire fighters, our NYPD officers and our EMS personnel who worked around the clock to save lives. We are joined today by some of them, including some of their union representatives. This community thanks you all to this day.

I also thank the Red Cross and all the organizations that assisted the families affected by this tragic event. We will always be grateful for the services they provide.

I want to say a big gracias to Mayor De Blasio and his administration for the ongoing assistance to the families and business owners that were affected.

Also, thanks to the numerous city agencies that were on the ground from the moment this tragic event occurred.
Thanks to the Mayor’s Fund, in particular, for being the vehicle through which we raised resources to help bring stability to the residents and the business owners. All of your help is critical and instrumental in repairing our community.

And finally, but not less importantly, I’d like to thank the staff of the City Council, especially those in my district office. They were on the front lines, tracking every aspect of the aftermath, as well as assisting the families and those impacted.

Our office is right around the corner and for the first few days it became the command center for all the city agencies.
It is at times like these that we remember what people from El Barrio/East Harlem are made of. We are resilient people. We have each other’s backs. We come together and we care for each other.

In what is an indescribable tragedy, our compassion for one another carried us through.

As we mark this somber anniversary, we must remember the eight lives that are no longer with us.

We honor them with a renewed commitment of creating a safer, more just and inclusive place to live. We owe it to them.

Isabel Allende once said, “If you can remember me, I’ll be with you always.”

These eight people, that were so loved, have become a part of us. They will always live in our memories. Thank you.

Hace un año atrás, una terrible tragedia sucedió en este lugar. Perdimos ocho vidas y muchos resultaron heridos.
Hoy recordamos esas vidas y les reiteramos a sus familias que estamos con ustedes. Que nunca olvidaremos el legado que cada una de estas personas dejó en esta comunidad.
Quiero agradecer a todas las personas, agencias y líderes que nos ayudaron durante y después de esta tragedia. Sin ustedes, la reconstrucción de El Barrio no sería posible.
Mientras conmemoramos este aniversario, tenemos que afianzar nuestro compromiso de lograr un lugar más seguro, equitativo e inclusivo para todos y todas. Es nuestro deber hacerlo por quienes ya no están. Ellos son parte nuestra. Siempre vivirán en nuestras memorias. Muchas gracias.