David Cartagena

Photo: David Cartagena and his daughter Jada at Waterfire event for the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence. Photo credit: Richard Kizirian

The Institute mourns the passing of David Cartagena, senior streetworker of the Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence in Providence, Rhode Island. His was one of the most humane and inspirational voices we have ever welcomed in our 25 years. His role as a peacemaker in his community and in the world is so important. Our hearts go out to his daughter and his family, as well as to the community at the Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence and its director, Teny Oded Gross, one of our dear alumni and a close friend of David's. David's work extended beyond Providence, as his impact was beginning to be felt in other regions of the world. He was participated in a conference on youth civic participation in Central America, Líderes del Presente, in Antigua, Guatemala, in May 2008, which was convened by the IGL's strategic ally, the Project on Justice in Times of Transition. We ask that the IGL community write in to share your thoughts and reflections so that we may share them with David's family. If you would like to share your photos, stories and thoughts of David, email the Institute for Global Leadership at info@tuftsgloballeadership.org More information about David and his work at the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence Recently, David was the subject of a documentary photo essay by Rishwanth Jayapaul, called “Serving a Purpose,” view the images and read about it here

What can I say? Its just to hard to even process the idea right now. I remember David being the only speaker brought in front of our class who managed to captivate our class for an entire hour beyond our usual time, without anyone even remotely suggesting that the class be dismissed. So genuine and inspirational. It really is hard to find the words to describe the importance of his presence and work. Given the briefness of our interaction in our lifetimes, one can only be humbly be grateful at this point for his life to have touched mine. You don't come by men like David often enough. My sincerest condolences to his family and friends, and to all the children who depended on his work. If there is anything at all we can do as a student group to try and fill the immense gap he must have left at Teny's Institute... Dwijo G.

My heart cried when I heard David passed away, I have known David for over 20 years, I have seen him at his worst and seen him grow into his best, not too many people if any can do what David has done for this community. God gave us a angel when he sent David to us. He devoted his heart and time into making a difference in the lives of others. He made a difference in mine , helping me get my son on the right path, he never once said no I can't help you, he always said don't worry "I got you" and he always did . The only way to describe David is.... he was a miracle, strong willed with a heart of gold, my regret is not getting the chance to tell him thank you and letting him know how much my son and I appreciated everything he has done for us. I send my love to his family. Yovanny S.

David was a great man. I met David four years ago as I working at an exclusion/transitional school with at risk youth that the Providence Middle School did not know what to do with them at the time and were placed in this small environment while school officials found a placement that assisted the students needs. As a new counselor I had to mutli-task behavioral issues as they arise. I remember David walking into the school with a smile on his face, shaking every students hand, listening, always listening to each child, and observant. When David spoke to the children they listened. David was always there for me when a youth I was servicing had an issue in the community, he would drop what he was doing to assist them even on his days off or when he was spending quality time with his family. Now I work with older youth who are on probation and numerous are gang involved in the city of Providence. Every time I called David once again he was there. He was very consistent, loving, caring, compassionate with his work. I will always remember David as a person who looked beyond each youths symptom but rather looked for the core issue and gave his advise, undivided attention, and most of all his love as he and I both know that most troubled youth run to friends for a sense of love/family. David will always be considered just that, a family to everyone in Providence, Rhode Island. Jasmin O.

Queridas/os todas/os: A pesar de haber compartido muy poco con David durante la experiencia en la Antigua, fue de las personas que más me impactaron por su sonrisa permanente y las ganas de vivir...Va una oración desde Nicaragua para David.. Abrazos a todas/os, Sandra zuniga

Queridos miembros de la Red Lideres del Presente: Me sumo a la pena por la ida de David, su presencia en la red aportaba un ingrediente especial porque su trabajo de no violencia lo había tenido en sí mismo, eso le hacia ser un participante con un compromiso real, decidido para un mundo mejor. Abrazos, Iris Castejón-Wollny

Querido líderes: Me sumo al dolor de su familia y amigos. Mis recuerdos de David están llenos de admiración por su empuje y afán de superación… Confío en que se continuará su obra para honrar su memoria. Un abrazo, Magdalena Segre Director of Operations FRIDE

Conoci a David en Guatemala. Me impresiono su espiritu abierto, optimismo y esperanza contagiosa. Una perdida irreparable pero sin duda su energia para mejorar el mundo de los jovenes queda con nosotros. Pedro Pedro Mateu-Gelabert, Ph. D. Project Director Staying Safe National Development Research Institutes, Inc

I was in the presence of David for one day. As a Tufts sophomore, I attended the EPIIC Colloquim where I heard David speak about his experiences and ideas on dealing with the ever-present plague of societal violence. I spoke with David in person after the panel, where he shared more of his personal background with me. And since then, I have shared his message with others. His power to apply lessons he learned in his life to problems other people are facing is more than admirable. I pondered why tears came to my eyes when reading about the tragic passing of David, for he was merely a speaker at a panel who I talked to for a half an hour. A half an hour. And I concluded that - to me, he is heroic. I know few individuals who devote their lives to the pursuit of making the lives of others better. That is my dream for my future. To me-- and I'm sure to many-- David is a hero. The type of life he lived, the type of person he was, has increased the amount of hope and peace in this world. Can any pursuit be more worthwhile than his? Please keep David's endeavor to lessen gang violence alive. If we as a human race can persevere and fight for the seemilngy unanswerable solutions like David did with such honor, then maybe we can change this world we live in for the better. Thank you David, for influencing countless people, young and old, with your bravery and wisdom. You are exemplary. --Amy Ouellette, Tufts University Class of 2011