77.3 F

Davis, California

Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Friends and family honor David Henry Breaux at community memorial

Memorial organized by Maria Breaux and the city remembers the “Compassion Guy”


By MADELEINE YOUNG — city@theaggie.org


On Saturday, June 3, members of the community gathered by the Compassion Bench in honor of the late David Henry Breaux. The memorial was organized by the city of Davis and his sister, Maria Breaux, and featured multiple speakers including Mayor Will Arnold, former Mayor Rob Davis and former UC Davis professor Marina Oshana, among others. When asked about the turnout, Maria stated her gratitude for the community. 

“I still haven’t registered it yet, but it’s beautiful,” Maria said. “People loved him and he loved Davis. He made such an impact on people from all walks of life. It’s very special.”

Maria introduced the first speaker, Mayor Will Arnold, who talked about David’s impact on the community and the Compassion Bench.

“David could have chosen a lot of places in the world or even in Davis, but this is the crossroad he chose,” Arnold said. “That’s why we’re here today, to carry on a mission that he began in earnest and has spread throughout our community”

Former Mayor Rob Davis followed Arnold by sharing his memories of David, which date back to 2009. 

“I learned to listen to people and realized what David’s secret was at the bench — it was that he was willing to listen,” Davis said. “He was willing to validate the fears and anger and was not going to just sit there, but he was going to provide a space where people could deal with the challenges they were facing. David transformed my practice. I can’t think of another person in my life who transformed the way I was more than David.”

Davis then followed up with his hopes for community action in honor and remembrance of David’s commitment to compassion.

“As we think about how we’re going to remember David, I don’t want us to put a plaque by a bench,” Davis said. “That’s good, but we need to develop a set of practices, because David was always about practice. We need spaces where we community members are actively listening as David listened. We need community navigators, who will help orient people towards the help they need in the community. As we remember him today, there is a challenge that we do not leave this place with a memorial in mind, but we leave this place with a commitment to act in the ways that David would have wanted us to.”

Oshana then introduced a new scholarship fund, David Breaux Memorial Scholarship, that has been put together by the Yolo Community Foundation and will be open to high school seniors and first-year college students who demonstrate financial need. 

“You all know who David was, you all know what he did for us,” Oshana said. “This scholarship will be for those demonstrating an abiding commitment to social justice as compassionate service. David’s life mission was to spread awareness of compassion. This scholarship continues this goal and will allow a young person to help cultivate, in their own ways, a world where everyone treats each other with kindness, empathy and unconditional love.” 

The community mourns the loss of David Henry Breaux and is hopeful for the legacy he has left in Davis. To donate to the memorial scholarship, you can visit this website: https://srcf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create/fund?funit_id=4069&sorg_id=1000.

Written By: Madeleine Young — city@theaggie.org