Like a Phoenix, Ken Walker and His Family Will Rise From the Ashes

For all its negatives (time suck, political arguments to name two), sometimes Facebook is powerful and it can allow someone sitting in a farmhouse in the interior of Puerto Rico to learn about a hate crime in Upstate New York that appears to have a happy ending—thanks to a kind-hearted coworker.

Ken Walker is North Tonawanda's only Black firefighter. On Monday night he received this racist letter. NF_RACIST_LETTER_1470162488659_4443876_ver1.0_640_360

Walker turned it over to his superiors who promised to investigate. By Wednesday, the apartment Walker shares with his wife, two children and two cats was set on fire. Fortunately the family wasn't at home, but their cats were and they died.


Police arrested disgruntled former firefighter Matthew Jurado on Thursday on suspicion of arson.

In a town of 32,000 people, 97% of whom are White with Blacks comprising less than 1%, connecting the dots:

  • Racist letter
  • Firefighter let go from the fire department
  • Apartment set on fire

It's not hard to believe this is a hate crime. But there is a small silver lining to this story. Clearly not everyone is racist and one person has gone out of his way to prove this. Shawn Moynihan, fellow firefighter and coworker of Ken Walker's, has set up a Go Fund Me page to help Ken, his wife Amanda and their two very young daughters try and rebuild.

At the time of this writing, Moynihan has received over $135,000. It's a very good start. This family will need more and your donation, no matter how much, can help. Show this family that hate doesn't win, okay?

Show the Walkers that the Phoenix will rise from the ashes. And thank you Shawn Moynihan. You're a good egg.


Click me, please!