Sue Kerr wrote -
Andre 'Pok'ie' Gray (also known as Dre) was a young man much-loved throughout Pittsburgh. He was known for befriending many people, for his participation in the ballroom community and for being a very talented hair stylist. He was close to his mother and extended family, but he also took an active role mentoring other young gay and bi men of color through his chosen family, Project Silk. Andre proudly identified as a bisexual man of color.
Tragically, his life was cut short by gun violence at the age of 34 in October 2014. His family did not learn the truth about this crime until the spring of 2015 when his body was discovered and arrests were made. It was then that they also learned that Andre's much beloved dog and sidekick, Boss, was also killed during the crime.
We believe that it is important to honor Andre's life as well as mourn his passing. Thus, we are working with his family to establish a memorial park bench with a plaque to Remember Andre (and Boss.) We will be installing the bench at the Bernard Dog Run in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Andre most recently lived in Lawrenceville. The bench location honors the relationship Andre had with his dog Boss and his other pets throughout his lifetime. It provides some small degree of closure to the fact that Boss was never found and could not be buried with Andre. And it creates a vibrant, dynamic place that celebrates the life of this wonderful man and affirms the value of the lives of all bi and gay men of color in Pittsburgh.
On August 8, Andre would have turned 35. We hope to reach at least $3500 by that date. We hope to install the bench before the anniversary of his death in late October.
If you would like to make an off-line contribution, you can do so. Checks can be mailed payable to Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation to 5149 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15224. We've also had requests to set up small fundraising events which are most welcome - please reach out to one of the team organizers to make arrangements.
This is a joint project of Andre Gray's family & friends, the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation, Lawrenceville United and Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents. All donations will be directed to BGC which is a long-standing 501c3 organization. Funds will be used to commission, install and maintain the bench. The Bernard Dog Run is a public park owned by the City of Pittsburgh and maintained by Lawrenceville United. Other supporters include Pittsburgh Black Pride and Most Wanted Fine Art.