The tragic loss of Baby Giovanna remained on my mind for days on end after it happened just over a year ago. She was 2 months old when she was allegedly killed at the hands of her father at a home on Schuyler Avenue in North Arlington.
I won’t repeat this man’s name because just the sight of it is sickening enough.
I tried to get this loss off the brain, but it took a long time, frankly. It caused me to wonder just what he did to his own daughter inside that house in the weeks leading up to her death.
It caused me to wonder how the mother sat by, apparently idly, and did so little to stop whatever it was. It caused me to feel anger, sadness, rage. And I suspect I was not alone with these feelings.
But then I recalled the admonition of North Arlington Mayor Daniel H. Pronti, his words which served as a stark reminder that it is possible — not definite, nonetheless — that perhaps if someone heard or saw something happening to Giovanna and had spoken up, she could still be with us today.
Said Pronti, a retired Montclair police sergeant:
“By now, most of our residents should be hearing this very troubling news involving the loss of life of a baby, at the hands of her parents. Our police department has been investigating this horrible series of events for several weeks, which involves a family, who had been renting an apartment along Schuyler Avenue.
“Whenever something like this occurs in our tight-knit borough, it impacts everyone, whether they were longtime residents or a family simply renting for a short time in-between their next destination. I implore us all to look out for one another. Report any and all suspicious activity. If you suspect child abuse, let someone know. You can make these reports by ways of anonymity. You could save a life.
“We have been seeing domestic acts of violence far too often across the country. Let’s do our part to help. Remember, we are a community and we are all in this together. Let’s all make a difference. Say a prayer for the soul of that defenseless infant, Baby Giovanna, who lost her life. May God bless us all.”
One year later, I felt a strong need to repeat Pronti’s words because they said so much, so profoundly, then and now.
So we’ll leave it here, only to echo that though it may seem elementary, seeing or hearing something demands we say something. There are no exceptions to this notion.
May the beautiful soul of Baby Giovanna rest in God’s eternal embrace, now and forever.
Editor’s note: This commentary, though slightly edited, first appeared in the Jan. 26, 2022 edition of The Observer.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.