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Our hearts are broken by the Diol family’s tragedy

By now many of you have heard about the terrible tragedy that struck the African immigrant and Senegalese communities in the early morning of August 5. A house where two Senegalese families lived caught fire and five members of one family died in the blaze. The fire is being investigated as arson. We pray that it was not a hate crime.

Such a terrible event would be difficult to bear under any circumstances. It is made even harder by the fact that we are all living through a pandemic and members of our community are suffering on many levels. We are all heartbroken by this senseless loss.

We are a strong community and we are rallying around the family of Djibril (Djiby) Diol, who was an engineer with Kiewit working on the I-70 project.  We have started a Gofundme page to help the family with funeral and other expenses. Please consider contributing whatever you can.

We are also offering support by gathering together — safely, given the pandemic — to offer condolences and material help to the family. Anyone who would like to stop by to offer condolences, or bring food, water. etc. can come to 5314 Uravan St., Denver.

It is important that we name the victims of this arson attack so that the world remembers their names:

Djiby Diol: 30, deceased
Hadji Diol, 27, (Djiby’s wife) deceased
Coumba Diol Hassan, age unknown, ( Djiby’s sister ) deceased
Kadiatou Diol 2, Djiby and Hadji’s daughter), deceased
Hawa Beye 10 months old, (Djiby’s nephew), deceased

Also injured in the fire were homeowner Amadou Diallo, his wife Hawa, and their son, little Amadou. None of the injuries were life-threatening.

African Leadership Group as a whole and myself specifically, as both head of ALG and a Senegalese immigrant, are committed to doing whatever is necessary to support the family now and into the future. Djiby’s father has flown in from New York. His two brothers and cousins have also traveled to Denver to be together.

I have spoken with the Senegalese ambassador in Washington D.C., and today the Consul General is flying in from New York to send a few days with our community. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is also expected to pay a visit today. 

We are grateful for everyone’s support. 

Papa Dia
Papa Dia is Founder and President of the African Leadership Group. A native of Senegal, Papa immigrated to Denver in 1998. He used his first job, stocking books, to teach himself how to read, write, and speak English. Beginning with an entry-level position in a local bank, over the next 17 years, Papa ultimately climbed the ranks to become a regional vice president. In 2017, Papa left his banking career to focus his full attention on running and growing ALG.

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