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Activist Nique Craft remembered at South Side vigil for their 'unapologetic fierceness'

A crowd filled Color Park on Pittsburgh’s South Side to remember social justice activist Nique Craft Friday evening. The vigil took place after Craft, 36, died unexpectedly Tuesday.

Craft was a regular presence during protests against police brutality in Pittsburgh last year. They identified as nonbinary and advocated for solidarity and strengthening the city’s Black and queer communities.

Toy Slaughter, another local activist and friend of Craft, organized the event.

“No one can deny that they were a powerhouse and definitely lit a fire under the asses of everybody in Pittsburgh,” Slaughter said. “Nique taught us that unity is everything.”

Hamms beer (a favorite of Craft’s), pizza and coffee were available for attendees. Many also lit candles, which sat upon the colorful concrete barriers overlooking the city’s skyline, in memory of Craft.

As metal music — Craft's preferred genre — blared, Kyna James said she was happy that so many people came out in support.

“It doesn’t feel real yet,” James said. “Nique was always loved.”

James said Craft did have differences with a lot of people but “made amends” before they died. She also noted Craft’s consistent criticism of Mayor Bill Peduto and said she’d always remember their “unapologetic fierceness.”

“Getting people riled up, not to be violent but [to] want to fight,” James said.

Several others went to the microphone to talk about their memories of Craft with many becoming emotional.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office reports they were found dead in their home Tuesday. The cause of death is still under investigation.

Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA and 91.3 WYEP, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. She's the producer and host of our Good Question! series and podcast. She also covers history and the LGBTQ community.