A lifetime of struggling for the people: Monica Shay

Paul Shay is struggling to recover after a gunshot in the face. Monica Shay is struggling for her life, and given little chance of survival. This evening there is a vigil in their honor  in front of their E. 10th street home -- as friends and comrades express  support and dismay.

Here is an episode from the life of Monica Shay, a much loved  revolutionary activist. It is an interview with Monica done twenty years ago by Paul DeRienzo for WBAI -- as police force massed to drive homeless people out of their encampment in Tompkins Square Park. Monica (aka by her nickname Kathryn) was active in the defense of the Dinkinsville in the East Village park. And spoke here as the struggle was beaten down in 1991.

Here is how the New York Times described Paul and Monica today:

"Paul and Monica Shay, who have lived at 263 East 10th Street for many years, are highly regarded in the East Village. He took part in battles that shaped the East Village over the past 20 years, neighbors said, and sided with squatters who took over abandoned city-owned buildings, helping to unclog drains and connect waste pipes to make them habitable, often at no charge. And when a homeless encampment was erected in Tompkins Square Park, the Shays encouraged park inhabitants to resist city efforts to dislodge them.

Mr. Shay, neighbors said, also employed men down on their luck [in his plumbing business], including his slain nephew Joseph....

Ms. Shay joined the Pratt faculty in 2000 and heads the arts and cultural management department at the school’s Manhattan campus.

Scott Trent, a public health worker in Greensboro, N.C., said he had known her for a decade in the October 22 Coalition, a national effort to curtail police brutality and assist its victims. “She’s a very rare kind of person,” he said. “The kind of person who is very serious and dedicated and committed to people.”

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People in this conversation

  • Guest (Mountain Girl)

    This is such an outrageous crime, and one that smacks of much more than "revenge gone wild." It's a huge leap from robbery, burglary, and insurance fraud to execution-style shootings of five people, done so efficiently and skillfully with a bullet to the head. And now the murderer has been disposed of by a SWAT team, so there's no chance of finding out more.

  • Guest (aron pieman kay)

    this is a crime against 2 who are into the revolution....i knew them since the 80s.....

  • Guest (Seamus)

    While '' Mountain Girl '' raises some good points (Why would a probable career criminal carry out a serial murder ? )
    It may be just be as it appears.
    Despite some New left fantasies to the contrary Not all prisoners are '' Political prisoners ''. Some are Anti-social thugs that even the most benign Socialist society would have to deal with someway .

  • Guest (TOM CLEAR)

    I knew Paul and Monica very closely in the 1970's. We worked together on progressive social issues. They were always selfless in their dedication. I am shocked at this news would like to know the details behind it. I can not imagine them being involved with the likes of the person who murdered this past weekend.

  • Guest (Judy Allen)

    Tom Clear, I too think it is a very sad story and I have Monica, Paul, and their families in my thoughts. I have often wondered what happened to you. Fred and I are both living on the east coast again, separately. If you happen to see this, please contact me.
    Judy Allen
    judydehavi@msn.com

  • Guest (A.)

    Please do not listen to any of the wild rumor stories that the media has put out there. I have been to the hospital and spoken with everyone 1st hand, not even a SINGLE media outlet has gotten the story correctly in the slightest. They have gone as far as to rush up to pizza men at their apartment in the Eats Village asking if they've ever delivered pizza to the Shays, and "what were they like?" Who does that? This has been some of the most unethical journalism I have ever heard of.