Honoring a Hero: Remembering the Life of Manny Fiallo Jr.
Laws, borderlines, and government create cities and towns. However, it’s people who create and sustain communities. Manny Fiallo Jr. was one of those people for Far Rockaway. Manny passed away on May 2, 2017 from a rare blood disease called Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP). While we struggle to cope with his loss, we also want to take time to celebrate the life of a man who meant so much to our community.
As a strong opponent of street violence, Manny dedicated his life to making Far Rockaway a safer place. A quick look at his social media pages shows you what kind of person Manny was. His dedication to bringing peace to the Rockaway community is obvious and his success is tangible. As the founder of the Stack Bundles Basketball Tournament, he worked to promote peace amongst youth through basketball. The success of the yearly tournament is a testament to his hard work, passion, and the influence he had on our community. Manny served as an Outreach Coordinator for the Far Rockaway Police Athletic League (PAL) and was a parent coordinator at the NYC Department of Education. He was a beloved father, son, and friend to many.
RYTF’s relationship with Manny was long standing and many of our staff, board of directors, and members have fond memories of him. Jazmine Outlaw, a former 101st Precinct Council President, remembers Manny fondly. “I was deeply saddened and shocked after hearing about the loss of Manny. It was truly a pleasure to be able to work with him during my tenure as Precinct Council President. I remember stressing out about planning my first National Night Out and he called me every single day leading up to the event. During these calls, he did not ask me about the event’s logistics, but rather he called to check in to see how I was feeling. There was never a time when I needed something from him and he said he couldn't do it. His work in the Rockaway community spoke volumes to his character and his love for Rockaway and I treasure the time that I spent working with him. His presence will forever be felt through the streets of Rockaway.”
While his work in his official capacity garnered him much respect and love in the community, Manny was also known for his generosity. One resident recounts the time when Manny bought their family a turkey for Thanksgiving because they could not afford one. It’s that type of spirit that will be missed.
Khaleel Anderson, a former RYTF staff member, remembers Manny as a “boots on the ground” type of activist. “Manny did so much work for our community and much of it was done in his person to person interactions. The work he did with his GED courses and the basketball tournament made him a household name in this community. He was Rockaway’s grandfather and it saddens me to have to say goodbye to a legend. He was the type of guy who did things because they needed to be done, not because he could take credit for it. He’s exactly the type of person we need in our community”
RYTF is extremely grateful for the work that Manny did to transform our community. We had the opportunity to work with Manny over the past few years and our organization is better for knowing him. As partners in the fight for social justice, we are so lucky to have learned from his peaceful nature and hard work ethic. The work we do is not easy and losing him feels like a setback, but we are certain that his legacy will inspire others to pick up his work where he left off. Manny will be sorely missed, but his spirit will live on through the lives that he has touched.
Rest in Peace, Manny Fiallo!