Pittsburghers remember local activist Nique Craft | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburghers remember local activist Nique Craft

click to enlarge People gather, light candles, and share stories as they mourn the loss of Nique Craft at the color park in the South Side on Fri., Nov. 5, 2021. - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
People gather, light candles, and share stories as they mourn the loss of Nique Craft at the color park in the South Side on Fri., Nov. 5, 2021.
Pittsburghers mourning the loss of local activist Nique Craft gathered in South Side’s Color Park on Friday evening to pay their respects with candles, tears, music, and healing.

“When they said ‘No justice, no peace’ they meant it,” Craft’s lawyer Paul Jubas posted online when announcing their death on Tue., Nov. 2. “Nique was a profound lightning rod, during one of the most profound summers in any of our lives.”

As first reported by WESA, Craft, also known by close friends as Gam, was found dead inside their home, and the cause of death is still under investigation.
click to enlarge Nique Craft in 2020 - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
Nique Craft in 2020
Craft, 36, was one of the most recognizable figures in Pittsburgh’s Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, and led dozens of protests throughout the city, advocating against police brutality following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Craft was also an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ community and was well known for being a huge critic of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, leading a demonstration outside his house in Point Breeze. They were also arrested multiple times following protests and made national headlines when a video of them taking, then drinking a beer from a couple’s outdoor table during a Downtown protest went viral.


Their death this week was followed by an outpouring of grief on social media, including an emotional Instagram video posted by clinical therapist and anti-racism advocate Liana Maneese. In the video, Maneese says Craft was adopted, which Maneese says was “one of the most important" things about her friend. Maneese says Craft led an “excruciating” life.

Pittsburgh writer and adoptive mother Meg St-Esprit McKivigan, who is white, posted that Craft helped her become a better mother to her adopted Black children.

“Nique Craft has taught me more than any book or blog. They’ve cuddled my babies, talked to them about transracial adoption before they even had the words to verbalize their loss, and had some tough as hell convos with me that shaped my entire existence,” wrote St-Esprit McKivigan on Facebook. “I wouldn’t be 1/10th of the mother I am without you."

At Friday night’s memorial, organized by Craft's close friend and fellow activist Toy Slaughter, Craft’s friends repeated a chant often heard during protests during the summer of 2020:


“Gam was a freedom fighter and they taught us how to fight.”
click to enlarge Toy Slaughter lights candles in honor of Nique Craft along the edge of the color park in the South Side. - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
Toy Slaughter lights candles in honor of Nique Craft along the edge of the color park in the South Side.
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham

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