Family, friends & the Harlem community in general attended three days of memorial services for domestic violence victim Shanice L. Young, 31, and her unborn daughter, Soleil, who were murdered Sept. 12 in Harlem as she returned home from her own baby shower. The heartbreaking deaths have “moved the city.”
A private ceremony was held Sept. 22 with family and close friends. The following day, a horse-drawn carriage carrying Shanice’s casket was chaperoned by several dozen sympathizers, headed south on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. from 125th St. to Canaan Baptist Church (132 W.116th St.). The all-white casket was placed inside, front-center while Apostle Dr. Staci Ramos emphasized that the heavy-hearted ceremony was a “celebration of life,” while attempting to raise the full capacity attendees’ spirits, which included Shanice’s two young daughters––Shaniyah and Kimora, relatives, childhood friends, schoolmates and co-workers.
Dr. Ramos delved into various Bible verses seeking to find understanding on “Why God allowed this to happen” to the young, pregnant mother. “Someone who was loving and so full of life,” to be a “victim of such senseless violence.” She acknowledged that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office funded the funeral, while Mrs. Hazel Duke provided the flowers.
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams advised, “We gotta stick by the family,” before speaking against domestic violence. Then offered his “prayers to the family, Shanice and unborn child. My hearts with you, the community is with you. Shanice has moved a city! This tragedy will never fade.”
One of Shanice’s sisters said: “She brought all of us together. She would be so pleased. To know me is to know Shanice.”
A lady who described herself as “Shanice’s second mother,” warned against domestic violence and “holding it back from family and friends.” She urged not to hesitate speaking up “before it’s too late.”
Shanice’s best friend. Matania. concluded the evening sharing fond memories.
Reportedly, Shanice’s father, Thurman Young, who attended Thursday’s memorial, revealed that her alleged killer, Justin Soriano, was the father of her unborn child, adding that she was victimized by domestic violence––having three orders of protection against him since they had split a couple months ago.
“He’s Satan,” Thurman noted. “Say that’s the one word I used to describe him. I don’t want him to see the light of day. I could sleep now knowing that [guy is in custody].”
Adding that the second-degree murder charge wasn’t sufficient: “Is that all? He should be charged with two murder counts. That baby inside her was a person. That baby was going to live.”
Shanice’s relative, Diedra Thomas, said: “You never know what it’s like, until it happens to you. There are two children that is the motivation and the concern to ensure that they make it. It’s about them, period. And that’s all that I’m here for, to ensure they beat the odds. They don’t have their mother and the way that it was done is horrific.”
On Sept. 14, New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin marched with a group to a candle-lit vigil at the site where Young was murdered: “My heart goes out to the family and friends of Shanice Young for this senseless loss. She was due to have her child in five days. I will do everything I can as lieutenant governor to help end gun violence. What we’re dealing with right now in Harlem is a national catastrophe,” he said.
The NYPD arrested Soriano on Sept. 16 at Carlisle Place in the Bronx and charged him at Harlem’s 32nd Precinct with second-degree murder, menacing, criminal possession of a weapon, and acting in a manner injurious to a child. Further charges are pending. During his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court, no bail was offered.
Shanice’s funeral was conducted Friday morning at Harlem’s Unity Funeral Home, in English and Spanish to accommodate her joint heritage.