Michelle Alyssa Go, the woman pushed to her death by a homeless man in New York City, had advocated for homeless people for over 10 years, according to fellow volunteers.
Go, 40, was shoved into the path of an oncoming train at Times Square-42nd Street subway station at around 9:40 a.m. on Saturday. The suspect, 61-year-old Simon Martial, surrendered to police shortly after and was subsequently charged with second-degree murder. Go’s sudden death came as a shock to her partners at the New York Junior League, a 120-year-old women’s volunteer organization. Over the last 10 years, she reportedly helped prepare homeless people for job interviews and improved their resumés and financial literacy. “It’s horrifying, it’s very saddening and it’s completely senseless,” Dayna Cassidy, president of the Junior League, told CBS New York. “It’s a tragic loss of life for someone who was giving back to the New York City community.”
Aside from helping homeless people through individual training, she also volunteered to help seniors, immigrants and underperforming elementary and middle school students, as well as their parents, through the Junior League.
“Michelle’s vivacious nature and joy for life were evident to everyone who knew her,” one Junior League partner said, according to the New York Daily News. “It is absolutely heartbreaking that her life was ended in such a horrific and senseless way.” A native of California, Go earned her bachelor’s degree in Economics and Public Policy from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2002. She then earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from New York University’s Stern School of Business in 2010. Go most recently worked as a senior manager for Deloitte Consulting in Manhattan, according to her LinkedIn profile. Her colleagues have also been affected by her untimely passing.
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“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague in this senseless act of violence,” said managing director Jonathan Gandal, according to the New York Post. “We are doing all we can to support her family and friends during this terribly painful time.”
A former high school friend told the New York Post that Go “took on a lot of leadership roles” despite being the youngest student of the 1998 class of California’s American High School.
“She was always very athletic and tanned and friendly, and it looks like she never really changed her simple style,” the unidentified friend said. “I know people always say so-and-so always had a smile, very optimistic. But this really was Michelle. She always had a smile, very optimistic.”
Meanwhile, Go’s family has been thanking people who have sent them messages of support. They described the 40-year-old as a “kind” and “intelligent” woman who loved to help others.
“We are in a state of shock and grieving the loss of our daughter, sister, and friend. We hope Michelle will be remembered for how she lived and not just how she died,” Go’s family said, according to KGO. “She was a beautiful, brilliant, kind, and intelligent woman who loved her family and friends, loved to travel the world and to help others. Her life was taken too soon in a senseless act of violence, and we pray that she gets the justice she deserves.”
A candlelight vigil has been scheduled to honor Go’s memory at the Red Steps in Times Square at 6 p.m. today. Organizer Ben Wei, the founder of Asians Fighting Injustice, called on Mayor Eric Adams to develop a coherent mental health reform plan.
“I’d like to ask Mayor Adams and the rest of the city to think really deeply about mental health reform. I agree with the voices out there that say it is inhumane to take mentally ill people and put them in jail for the rest of their lives,” Wei told CBS New York. “At the same time, it’s a very hard issue, but letting them back out on the street to reoffend, to cause more violence, is also unacceptable.”
Go’s alleged murderer was reported to have mental health issues. A woman who identified as his sister told the New York Post that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and “has been in and out of mental hospitals at least 20 years.” Featured Image via CBS New York (left) and Michelle Alyssa Go (right)