For Jurina: A Letter for A Light Lost

She made us better. Jurina was a part of the SONG family, and as a family we grieve the loss of one of our own. One who gave everything she had to this life. One who served on the SONG board and strengthened the organization by reminding all of us why we work so hard. She pushed us all like prizefighters, as she pushed us to be better & stronger. She reminded us to welcome everyone who came in the SONG door, to listen to each other and be curious, to laugh big and wild, to throw exceptionally scandalous queer parties, and to take action. Jurina was a wide open heart and she taught us all to be like that, to be better, to be who we are. And that’s what good coaches do – they don’t push you to be something you’re not or do something you don’t want to do. They demand that you be who you already are and that you do what you didn’t dare imagine you could. We called her Coach because that was how she lived. Inviting people into their best selves.

A light has gone out with her passing. SONG honors her memory and the loves she leaves. Her family and homeland in Bermuda and her family and community in Durham. We recognize and lift up her love in life, Tashonda, and we reach out to make sure that Tashonda, Jurina’s newly wed wife, has what she needs to take the time to mourn, to remember, and to grieve. Whether or not there are institutional supports that recognize or name our loves, we know that our responsibility as SONG family is to recognize each other and our truths. We are committed to be present in any way we can after such a sudden and tragic loss.

SONG celebrates the 35 years that we got to share Jurina with this world. We celebrate the gifts she gave to SONG as a member, leader, and queer person living and fighting in the South. We celebrate her mlovefestgroup1emory that we will hold with fondness and laughter. We celebrate her spirit that is woven into our fabric. We will fight on because she would not expect any less, and because we know Jurina has joined the ancestors having met her commitment and duty to fight for more, and we honor that by continuing that struggle for all our people’s Liberation.  Rest in Power Coach.

SONG is collecting a small offering for Tashonda. Please consider contributing if you can. Please make checks out to “TaShonda Vincent-Lee” and mail to Chantelle Fisher-Borne  2705 Elgin St / Durham NC 27704

Plan’s for Jurina’s service and memorial continue to evolve. We know @ SONG and in community we will honor her memory. legacy + spirit collectively – yet plans have not yet been decided. We will keep our broader SONG fam in the loop as plans evolve.