It has long been the case that the goings-on in tiny tea shops in Queens, barbershops in Manhattan, temples of worship in Brooklyn, and yes, apartment buildings in the Bronx have reverberated to every corner of the globe.

This is not just because New York City is a cultural and economic capital, but because it contains in every corner slices of that vast and wonderful world that lies beyond it.

Often, these have been reverberations of joy and love, as a wedding in Jackson Heights is celebrated by relatives cutting a cake in Colombia, or the birth of a new child in Brighton Beach is greeted with whoops of ecstasy back in Russia. Sometimes, it is pain that we must all share.

Today, the horror that is deeply felt throughout New York in the face of Sunday's deadly high-rise fire in the Bronx extends a long tendril into the west African nation of Gambia, from where most of the 17 dead hailed.

This tight-knit, largely Muslim community was striving for what generations of New Yorkers have sought: security, opportunity, community, prosperity and the ability to re-establish in this vast and often anonymous metropolis a place that was at once familiar, linked to a millenary culture, and vibrant with new possibilities.

A place where the sound of the djembe could intermix with the sounds of New York City, and children could grow to attend a world-class university system alongside those of every other culture, belief and ambition on Earth.

This city has been called a melting pot and mosaic; it is really a glorious, ever-expanding, intricately interwoven tapestry. The smoke has cut this journey short for these victims; there must be meticulous investigation into what went wrong. It has not cut the journey short for this community, with whom we will grieve and demand answers, and with whom we will stand as it moves forward, battered but resolute.

Their wounds are our wounds just as their drive is our drive. They are our sisters and brothers.