New Yorkers gather to remember lives lost and affected in Mideast crisis

Lauren Glassberg Image
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
New Yorkers remember hostages, lives lost amid crisis in Mideast
Lauren Glassberg has more on the Tuesday gatherings.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Out on the Upper West Side is an installation to remind people of the hostages still being held by Hamas.

A group of women from the neighborhood used balloons, images and shoes to represent the ongoing heartache.

"Somebody is not in those shoes right now," said Briana Zackai, one of the members that organized that vigil located on West 66th Street. "We always talk about getting into somebody's shoes, there's nobody to get into those shoes right now."

And during the afternoon, news of more hostages being released led the group to move photos of those released to sit alongside the photos of those who've already been freed - highlighting a hopeful moment.

"Just seeing the solidarity and just showing the world that we're not forgetting about any single individual that's still there, and we hope people are listening and understand that these are just human beings that just want to come home," said Zackai.

It was 52 days ago when Hamas attacked civilians in southern Israel prompting a war that has left thousands of Palestinians killed, including Mai Ubeid.

"Mai was a wizard of a software engineer," said Mohammad Khatami. "She was a valedictorian. She completed the Google for Startups program."

Khatami works at Google but didn't know Mai who did that internship program three years ago.

Still, he wanted to honor her and organized a vigil on West 14th Street Tuesday in the Meatpacking District.

Ubeid had muscular dystrophy and used a wheelchair, according to her LinkedIn page. She worked from the United Nations International Computing Center, and was based in Gaza.

"She actually dreamed of a having start up to support people with similar disabilities," added Khatami. "All around, just a virtuous person. It's really tough reading her story and we had to say something."

Two vigils today, two of many in the past several weeks, that reflect how deeply the events in the Middle East affect people here in New York.


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