Daniel grew up in Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York, youngest and only brother to three older sisters. His father was a transit officer for the New York Police Department (NYPD) and his mother worked in an elementary school cafeteria. As a teenager he attended Christ the King High School and was active on the cross-country and track team. After high school, Daniel attended SUNY Buffalo, double majored in Business Administration and Southeast Asian studies, and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 1996. Following his graduation, Daniel spent several months exploring Thailand, putting into practice the language he had learned as a student and getting a better understanding of the region’s history and culture. After his travels, Daniel returned to New York and began working in both paid and volunteer positions for numerous environmental and non-profit organizations. In 1998, Daniel moved out of New York to live in the beautiful Northwest and was an asset to environmental and social justice projects in every community he spent time in. He spent several months in Canada, visiting friends as well as spending time with indigenous people in hopes of learning about other cultures firsthand.
In 2002, Daniel returned home to New York. He had missed the East Coast and was looking forward to being closer to his family and spending more time with them. He also returned to be with Jenny, a woman he had met on one of his visits home, who continues to be his loving wife and partner. In New York, Daniel has held a number of professional positions. He had worked as a full-time web and office administrator for Rainforest Foundation US (founded by Sting and Trudie Styler). Daniel has been active in projects to educate people about rainforest preservation, national forest protection and biodiversity. He also worked on a temporary basis for the Brooklyn Museum of Art, assisting in their Development department.
During the Republican National Convention in NYC in 2004, Daniel publicly organized events in protest of the convention. His efforts included fundraising, event planning, web design, and publicizing demonstrations, forums and meetings of progressive grassroots organizations. He was interviewed and photographed for a number of national publications, including Rolling Stone and The New York Times.
In the fall of 2005, Daniel entered a graduate program at Tri-State College of Acupuncture in order to earn his Master’s degree. In recent months, Daniel devoted countless hours to studying for his courses, he received outstanding scores on all of his tests and quizzes, and he often shared his excitement about medicine and healing the human body with friends. In just a few months, he had established strong bonds with his fellow classmates and much of the faculty. Daniel’s endless desire to help people has driven his success in school. He wants to be able to provide medical care for anyone, regardless of their financial abilities. His goal is to be able to practice acupuncture on a sliding scale, or even for free, to those in need. If you know Daniel, he has most likely talked to you about coming into the school’s clinic for free or affordable acupuncture sessions. He never left home without brochures from his school’s clinic in hopes he could help out someone he came across that day.
In addition to attending a full-time graduate program, Daniel was working part-time at Womenslaw.org, where he was arrested. This non-profit organization helps women in domestic abuse situations to navigate the legal system through extensive online resources. Daniel was responsible for updating their website and solving technical problems.
With whatever time Daniel had left in his week, he also contributed to helping out with events around the city, such as the “really, really free markets” set up at a church in the East Village where people could bring and take anything they wanted all day long.
As busy as he has always been, Daniel took time to hang out at home with a movie. Some of his favorites: Young Frankenstein, Abbott and Costello flicks, Office Space, Cruel Intentions, Lord of the Rings, and any movie with a super-hero in it. He watches the animated Legend of Sleepy Hollow every Halloween, and listens to the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack every Christmas. We were saddened that last Christmas he was not able to do so, let alone hear any music.
One of the most cherished people in Daniel’s life is his niece (the cute little girl in a number of pictures on the site). He loves her more than anything else in the world and was the second person to visit her in the hospital when she was born. Daniel even created a website for her so that friends and relatives who do not live nearby could see recent pictures of her easily. He always made a point to visit his niece when he had time off from work and school and is excited when asked to baby-sit. In fact, the day he was arrested he had plans to go visit her after work. She is truly the light of his life.
Daniel is one of the most wonderful, expressive, caring, thoughtful and compassionate people in this world. His compassionate nature had driven him to do support work for political prisoners, and his dedication to this work makes it all the more moving that we have been called to provide the same support for him.