Beijing’s expatriate community is mourning the loss of 32-year-old international school teacher Jonathan Sokoloff who was critically injured in a scooter accident on April 25. Sokoloff, who was in the ICU of an international department of a local hospital, passed away last night. An American expat from Gainesville, Florida, Sokoloff had been teaching at Beijing International Bilingual Academy (BIBA) for almost two years.
Sokoloff’s sister Jennifer Sokoloff arrived in Beijing last weekend to take over all the necessary arrangement and decisions. BIBA assisted Sokoloff’s sister in contacting the US Embassy, hospital, and traffic police department.
Outpourings of grief were posted last night on the public Facebook page Send Soko Home, set up to raise money to pay for medical expenses and possible special medivac transportation to fly Sokoloff back home for treatment.
"We were waiting for God to give us a miracle but it didn’t happen," Sokoloff’s sister Tracy Goolsby posted to the Facebook group last night. "But then I thought maybe our miracle was the fact our paths crossed with our brother Jonathan’s in the first place….Maybe our miracle was his big ole smile being etched into our minds and hearts as long as we live or the way we felt when he gave us that big ole bear hug that totally encompassed us, making us feel like a small child and loved beyond measure."
Before traveling to Beijing Sokoloff’s sisters Jennifer Sokoloff and Tracy Goolsby, spoke to their local tv news station WCJB about their concerns, and to stress the need to raise funds to cover the cost of medivac.
Friends of Sokoloff organized crowdfunding pages where donations can be made, as well as a benefit at Homeplate Bar-B-Que which took place on May 1. BIBA is also fundraising through multiple channels.
As of last week over RMB 370,000 had been raised to go toward the the cost of treatment, bringing his family to China, and the ongoing medical expenses of his mother, whom Sokoloff had been helping support on his teaching salary. Today a source close to fundraisers said that over RMB 700,000 had been raised through fundraising in China and the United States.
Another fundraiser, Punks Jump for Jonathan, will take place on Saturday, May 21 at 9pm, with punk rock acts Final Impact and Bastards of Imperialism playing a benefit gig at DDC. Tickets are RMB 50, with organizers pledging 100 percent of proceeds to Sokoloff’s family. Click here to make a donation to his family via Indiegogo. Click here to make a donation to his family via Gofundme.
Photo: Send Soko Home