October 5, 2021

In Memory of AFJ Participant: Menkie Woodard-Collins (1997–2021)

It is with a heavy heart and deep sadness that we announce the passing of one of AFJ’s participants, Menkie. Menkie was smart, jovial, witty, ambitious, creative, and energetic. He changed the energy of every room that he walked into. He was always cracking jokes, testing wits, and making the people around him laugh and think.

Menkie was also smart and ambitious. He had started college and was in the process of re-enrolling and he said on multiple occasions that he wanted to be President one day. Menkie was also a cook and was considering pursuing a career in the culinary industry.

Recently, Menkie participated in AFJ’s SYEP Film Internship, winning Best Comedy at The Andy Awards Film Festival in August. He was so inspired by the instructor, Gary Wachter, that he volunteered to present Gary with the Andy Award from AFJ in front of an audience of 50 people.

Words cannot describe the profound loss in the world with Menkie’s passing. The world lost an amazing young man this week, but his memory will live on with his family & in all of us at AFJ.

These photographs are from our Open House at the Lower East Side, the Andy Awards Film festival, and a Juneteenth cooking workshop hosted by a local chef.

If anyone needs assistance processing the loss of Menkie, please contact Gamal Willis at gwillis@avenuesforjustice.org.

We love you Menkie, you made the world a better place more than you could ever have known.


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