More than 100 people gathered at the Community Empowerment Association in Homewood this past Saturday (April 8) for a memorial ceremony celebrating the brief, but impactful life of Nazura Asaseyeduru.
Asaseyeuduru, born Delores Haymon, was a community activist in Pittsburgh whose life ended suddenly on March 19 while attending a conference in Washington, D.C. She was 38 years old.
Before the ceremony, a community processional with everyone in white, and the women wearing red, green and black head wraps, marched, danced and drummed from the Pittsburgh Coliseum on Frankstown Avenue to the CEA. The Red, Black, and Green March set the stage for the occasion, which had all the pomp and ceremony due any true “Warrior Type,” as she was referred to by spoken-word artist, Leslie Ezra Smith, in a poem he wrote in her memory.
The central theme of the day centered around her character; a “Warrior Woman,” a committed community activist whose determined spirit and commitment to her people was unrelenting and serious. This came through in all the comments and reflections about her—but the power in her efforts did not come without controversy at times.
“There was no such thing as a permanent rift between you and Nazura, because if you thought there was, a discussion that came across like a disagreement, the next day she was right there supporting your cause, or something you were doing,” Ezra Smith said. “She was at everything. No, there was no way to stay at odds with her.”
Mistress of Ceremonies was local author and poet, Dessie Bey. “Nazura went to D.C. in May of 2005 for the celebration of African Liberation Day. It was during this time that she entered her Afrocentric consciousness, and she went from being Delores Haymon to Nazura Eshe Asaseyeduru, and began the fight for her people and to live out her life purpose, focusing on community organization—which she did until her last day,” Bey said.