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The Daniel Prude Vigil serves as a reminder to push for Daniel’s Law-mandated mental health changes



Rochester, New York – Four years after Daniel Prude’s passing, the community and activists honored his life.

On Saturday, a crowd gathered near the intersection of Dr. Samuel McCree Way and Jefferson Avenue. They staged a vigil in Daniel Prude’s honor near the location where he was discovered by Rochester Police early on March 23, 2020.

“They’re still standing behind my brother,” said Joe Prude, Daniel’s brother. “I thank them dearly for that this is a great joy. He was a joy to be around and when you got a joy like that to be around you and he’s gone, you’ve got nothing but memories.”

Even after four years, Joe still finds those recollections difficult, and he believes Daniel’s passing will bring about change. Daniel’s statute, a proposed bill that would modify New York State’s mental hygiene statute and provide new protocols for dealing with those experiencing a mental health crisis, was supported by a large number of those present at the vigil.

“Daniel’s Law is a bill that advocates on the ground are fighting for,” said Shay Herbert. “To remove police as the first responders during a mental health crisis and instead send in a curated team that consists of a mental health professional, a mental health peer, and an EMT worker to make sure that folks that are in crisis get the care they need. Until they get where they need to go.”

The bill is supported by State Assemblyman Demond Meeks. “We are also advocating for a pilot program of sorts of Daniel’s Law here in Rochester,” said Meeks.

The vigil’s organizer, Niya Shabazz, believes that occasions like this are necessary to bring about change.

“It’s important to keep his name alive and the message alive so we can see true change it’s going to need unity and education throughout our people,” said Shabazz.