Fund-raiser for Queens Village mother changed to Jamaica Performing Arts Center
By Naeisha Rose

Celebrities, entertainers, Queens officials and the Rev. Al Sharpton will now be in attendance at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center July 14 for the “Rebuild Comedy & Music Benefit Concert,” to support Queens Village resident Dajuana Green’s efforts to build a new home. The event was originally planned for York College.

Green is the mother of Rashawn Matthews, 10, one of five victims who perished in a four-alarm fire April 23 at 112-16 on 208th St. The other victims — Chayce Lipford, 2; Jada Foxworth, 16; and Destiny Dones, 20 — were relatives. Melody Edwards, 17, was a family friend who lived nearby.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show will start at 8 p.m. It will feature comedy and musical acts, according to Sheener Bailey-Briggs, Green’s sister, who organized the fund-raiser, which has been changed to the center, located at 153-10 Jamaica Ave..

Bailey-Briggs, a writer, poet and singer, was able to utilize her contacts in the entertainment industry to help Green in her time of need.

“I had gotten calls from my friends in the industry asking what can they do?” Bailey-Briggs said. “I came up with the idea of having my good friend Luke Diamond, a promoter, jump onboard to help do a big show. All the proceeds will go to my sister to help her get another house.”

There is currently, “nothing but dirt,” where the house use to remain, according to Bailey-Briggs.

There will be a fire safety component and the firefighters from Engine 304, Engine 165 and Border Patrol 162 will be honored for their efforts.

Sharpton, Comrie, Gospel singer Michael Williams, WBLS host Dr. Bob Lee and other entertainers are expected to attend.

Once fire marshals dug through the rubble after the fire was put out, they determined that there were no working smoke detectors in the house. Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro made a statement via twitter about the tragedy.

“It’s a very, very sad day for the people of our city when five promising young lives are taken from us,” read the tweet.

Comrie, state Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman (D-Springfield Gardens), Councilman Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), and fire officials responded to the misfortune with a fire safety town hall on May 4 at the Campus Magnet High School in Cambria Heights hours after Edwards’ wake, two blocks away at Mount Moriah AME Church.

“A tragedy is a terrible thing to waste,” Miller said. “We are going to take it back this evening by ensuring that our community gets the proper information and the proper education.”

Green’s family was laid to rest on May 6. Their funeral was at New Greater Bethel Ministries on Jamaica Ave. and was managed by Bailey-Briggs. Despite creating a GoFundMe page to help raise money to fix her sister’s house, she had to use the funds for the memorial service.

“It had to be shut down because of the funeral expenses and this is why it’s imperative that people come to the show,” Bailey-Briggs said. “It was a very expensive funeral for four kids, and we had to use the money from the GoFundMe to help out with the funeral.”

Tickets for the event can be found on eventbrite.com.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260-4573.

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