NEWS

Scholarship founded in memory of shooting victim

By ARDEN BASTIA
Posted 8/5/21

By ARDEN BASTIA Despite the unanswered questions surrounding her shooting, the family of Miya Brophy-Baermann is focused on "all the good she brought to the world," said her mother Michelle. "I knew the kind of person she was," she said. "She was so

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NEWS

Scholarship founded in memory of shooting victim

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Despite the unanswered questions surrounding her shooting, the family of Miya Brophy-Baermann is focused on “all the good she brought to the world,” said her mother Michelle.

“I knew the kind of person she was,” she said. “She was so loving and so thoughtful and empathetic, those were the things I knew, but I’m now learning that she was so sentimental.”

In an interview Wednesday, the Brophy-Baermann family reflected on the 24-year-old’s accomplishments and passion for life.

“She was loved more than we ever realized. She was a really, really good friend. She would do anything for a friend, and I got really frustrated at times, since she would drop everything to help a friend out, but that’s who she was,” Michelle said.

“I can’t pick out a specific memory right now, there’s too many,” said Miya’s brother, Belamy. “What’s hard is reflecting like that; it makes it feel so empty.”

Belamy said he remembers the “random” memories the most.

“Sure there’s Christmas, birthdays, graduations, but also every day in between,” he said, pointing out road trips and family movie nights. “We were a family. Anyone who has grown up with a younger sibling, they know that for the first years you do everything together.”

To honor her memory, the Brophy-Baermann family is establishing a scholarship, Miya’s Voice, to encourage local students to find their voice and follow their passions.

A GoFundMe has been set up to collect funds for the scholarship, and as of publication, more than $13,000 had been raised.

To donate, visit gofund.me/586be104.

“We’re going to try to make her have a legacy,” Michelle said. “That’s what she would want; it’s helping, it’s the only thing helping right now.”

“I really think Miya would believe in this,” shared Miya’s father, Brian. “She was so into making sure everyone had the opportunity to excel in every way that they could. She devoted herself to fixing the inequalities we see in society and to helping others fulfill their own goals.”

The Warwick resident was killed in a random drive-by shooting on Olney Street in Providence early Sunday morning, an act that leaves Providence Police and the Brophy-Baermann family scratching their heads.

“Suddenly a car comes by at a pretty good rate of speed, fires several shots out the window, striking the young woman,” said Maj. David Lapatin from the Providence Police Department in a video released by ABC6.

Brophy-Baermannn was out celebrating with friends was walking to a friend’s car at 3:30 a.m. Sunday when the incident took place.

Police say Brophy-Baermann, who was the city’s 13th homicide victim this year, was not the intended target, but they are still searching for suspects and witnesses.

In a brief interview Wednesday, Lapatin said the department is “still gathering evidence and working hard on the case” but did not have any new updates to share.

Miya recently graduated from Northeastern University with her master’s degree in speech pathology, and had just started a new job as a speech language pathologist fellow at Lincolnwood Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in North Providence.

Michelle shared that Miya was “one of only a few students” who chose to complete a master’s thesis, writing about the complexities of memory.

Brophy-Baermann received her undergraduate degree from the University of Rhode Island, where she graduated magna cum laude. She was also a graduate of Classical High School in Providence.

Michelle, who is a political science professor at Rhode Island College, called her daughter “a light.”

“She wanted the world to be a more just place. She wanted to just and equitable, she saw her SLP path as one that would help,” she said.

Miya, who was Belamy’s best man in his wedding, “was so loved by her family,” said Miya’s father, Brian.

“The silver lining of the COVID time was that we became a lot closer, since Miya moved in with us,” said Brian, who recalled memories of the two of them taking walks in their Cowesett neighborhood. “Miya was always a good sport for joining in the rain or snow or mud or sunshine. It was a beautiful time.”

A memorial of dozens of candles and flowers now fill the spot where she was shot, placed by high school friends.

Condolences from family, friends and strangers poured from social media following the incident.

In a Facebook post from Aug. 2, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza wrote in response to the shooting, “Violence is never the answer and these events do not reflect who we are as a city. After several quiet weeks, our city experienced too many awful incidents of violence this weekend, including the tragic death of a young woman. Any act of violence will not be tolerated and Providence Police are working to identify and hold those responsible for these acts accountable.”

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