Family and friends gathered at St. Emeric’s Catholic Church on Avenue D this morning to say goodbye to 12-year old Dashane Santana, who was tragically killed in a traffic accident on Delancey Street January 13th.
During the service, Dashane’s mother, Shamika Benjamin, called out from her seat, “I love you baby, with all my heart.” Teresa Pedroza, the girl’s grandmother, organized a fundraising drive for the funeral and burial. Today she stepped up to the pulpit, thanking community members for their generosity.
Referring to the terrible events 12 days ago in which the driver of a minivan struck Dashane as she was crossing the street, Pedroza said, “it was a horrible accident that never should have happened.” Pedroza vowed to work for safety improvements on the treacherous street.
Many people in the pews were overcome with emotion as two of Dashane’s classmates sang a song in memory of their friend. Judith De Los Santos, the principal of Castle Middle School, said, “one of our angels is no longer with us.” She called Dashane’s death a “devastating loss,” but told her loved ones, “it’s helpful to know there is a community here… I expect that you will stay part of our family.” State Assemblymen Brian Kavanagh was among those in attendance at today’s funeral.
Dashane lived in the Jacob Riis Houses. She had dreams of becoming a dancer and had recently applied to Julliard. Dashane would have celebrated her 13th birthday February 7th.