Niema Ross was a beloved community member and a friend to so many.
“Niema was the force I never knew I needed in this life,” says Emily Boutwell. “She cared hard, loved deeply, and felt the power you were capable of before you even knew it yourself.”
“No one checked in on her babies like Niema,” says Ford Howell, "and we were all her babies. That woman had more genuine concern for the people she surrounded herself with than most."
“Niema was always a light that everyone genuinely cherished,” says Meghan Hewitt. “There wasn’t a person she met that wasn’t affected by her infectious personality and laugh. She loved unconditionally and appreciated those around her.”
“Niema was going through a transformation the last year of her life,” says Adriana Iris Boatwright. “She had begun the life of an activist and was planning to finish her education. All she did, every action, was in hopes that her children would be as proud of her as she was of them. Every move and thought was consumed in becoming the best version of herself.”
“Niema was a lot of things to a lot of people,” says Alfredo Martinez. “I got to see a rare side of her normally reserved for her closest friends and family. She was strong, brash, loud, in-your-face and never scared to tell any unreasonable or entitled customer exactly where they could shove their Yelp reviews and opinions. To many she was the Metal Momma, willing to out-drink, out-cuss, out-party, and verbally bulldoze over anyone dumb enough to try her. To me, she was something a little different than all that.”
“She wasn’t afraid to tell others how she felt, she was not afraid to speak her truth, and she was not afraid to live,” says Anita Narcisse. "Every single day since she's passed, I think of Niema. I think to myself often, 'What would Niema say?' Other than her laugh and her sage advice, I will miss her hugs the most."
Runner-up: Howard Morrison