Andre Gray and his dog Boss
The family of Andre Gray, the LGBT community and the city as a whole have mourned the death of Gray since his body was finally discovered in the Ohio River
in West Virginia four months ago. Now, they are ready to celebrate and commemorate the life of the young man.
Gray, who identified as bisexual, was set to start a job at Project Silk — an organization that serves young minorities in the LGBT community, before he and his dog, Boss, were killed sometime in late October of last year. Gray was 34.
As a joint effort of the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation, Lawrenceville United, Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents and Gray's family and friends, a crowdfunded memorial project has started with the hopes of creating a memorial bench to Gray in the Benard Dog Run in Lawrenceville.
"He was very much like a father figure to lot of people,” Nayck Feliz, a volunteer and former associate director of Silk told City Paper
. "He wanted to help out even if he wasn’t paid."
Sue Kerr, of Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents, worked with Gray’s mother and both decided a memorial bench in the dog park was best. Kerr says that Gray “always had animals in his life” and since his dog was killed too, the dog run was the obvious choice.
“The reason we wanted to create the memorial came out of the fact that Andre’s life story was kind of getting lost in all the media attention,” says Kerr. “They focused on his death, not his life.”
The groups are hoping to raise $5,000: $3,500 to acquire permits and construct the bench, and $1,500 to start a project that will maintain funds to provide future maintenance. As of print, $2,180 has been raised.
“Hopefully this sends a message to gay and bi men of color that they will be honored and not forgotten,” says Kerr.
If you would like to contribute to Gray’s memorial fund, visit the crowdfunding site here