By Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker
Nikeeta Slade was one of our favorite people. She died suddenly on May 7 from an unexpected adverse medical event. She was only 32. The Greens have lost one of their most committed, knowledgeable, and talented organizers.
Nikeeta was a member of the Green Party in Syracuse, New York and had been a member of the now disbanded International Socialist Organization. Before she completed her apprenticeship to become a union millwright, Nikeeta had been an organizer at the Workers Center of Central New York. She was on the staff of Howie’s 2014 campaign for Governor of New York and was an advisor to our 2020 presidential campaign on policing and racial justice issues.
Nikeeta was a leader in Black Lives Matter Syracuse. Here is an interview Howie did with her after a BLM-Syracuse demonstration on June 6 last year. Angela and Howie had Nikeeta on their weekly livestream in December to talk about organizing.
Nikeeta was co-host of the podcast Queer Women of Color (QueerWOC), which is one of Angela’s favorites. The humor and brilliance she shared from the podcast and her voice and repartee with her co-host, Dr. Money, are really going to be missed.
Nikeeta was the most well-read and informed member of her generation of activists we have met. Howie had many discussions with Nikeeta about organizing and social theory. Among favorite books they often referred back to in those discussions were Robert L. Allen’s Black Awakening in Capitalist America (1969) and Mike Davis’ Prisoners of the American Dream: Politics and Economics in the History of the American Working Class (1986), books that too few current activists have read. Howie was delighted to have someone to talk with about them. He will miss Nikeeta as much for those conversations as for the consistent energy and commitment she brought to the movement.
Nikeeta contributed so much in her short life and had so much more to give. That is what she enjoyed doing. We are thankful for her blessing us with her contributions while she was here and so sad that she has departed.
Howie remembers Nikeeta on his Green Socialist Notes livestream.
Statement by Jennifer Hyman of the Green Party of New York
“I felt like she was guiding me on an important mission to build a more just world”
What I will remember about Nikeeta is that she was a curious intellectual as well as an active community organizer. I especially remember Nikeeta for her enthusiasm about organizing. She was constantly seeking ways to get people involved in the Green Party social movement. And I was one of her students in the effort.
Nikeeta got me involved in the campaign to ban fracking in New York State. When I newly registered with the Greens, she got me participating in our later 2020 presidential candidate’s campaign to become the Governor of New York State. We were so enthusiastic about Howie becoming Governor and the outspoken lawyer, Ramon Jimenez, becoming Attorney General in 2014. Every time I spoke to Nikeeta on the phone – with her in Syracuse and me in Binghamton – I felt like she was guiding me on an important mission to build a more just world. Without her, tabling outside would have been a lonely and detached effort rather than a connected and coordinated activity.
Nikeeta, who passed away far too young, will be sorely missed by us in the Green Party. Through her activism, she exuded the 10 Key Values. Please let us remember Nikeeta as an inspiration.
Brooklyn, New York
Additional Reading: A local Syracuse, NY article remembering Nikeeta: