Today and everyday we want celebrate the badass no-apologizes life of Denalda (who the newspapers are calling "Nicole Siegrist" for some reason), who lost her life in the fire at the Oakland Ghost Ship.
She was based out of the Scratch Pad, an Oakland dream squat circa 2014. Around, you could usually find her at both women’s only squats Fern and Eres, and pretty much anywhere underground worth being.
She was in this band, Introflirt, with Charlie Prowler, who died in the fire as well.
Denalda fucking knew what it was to be a squatter; to be in it for real. To take the time and space you need to have your real self emerge. To fucking take from the city and state whatever the hell you need to become a real person.
Everything Denalda did, she meant. Nothing she did was fake. It was terrifying when she got mad at you, because you knew she meant it. But her smile was worth everything. Her emotions were just out there, for all of us. She showed us what it means to take emotional space. To become real.
Once I had to ask her to leave an art show due to reports of unruly behavior. I remember her standing there on the sidewalk, her eyes tearing up. She was pissed about having to miss the show, but like, super forgiving. Like she was hugging me with her eyes. Like, even while getting thrown out of a show, Denalda was willing to hold space me as a complex being. Whoa.
The city coroner tells us that everyone in the Ghost Ship died of smoke inhalation before the fire got them, so they didn't suffer too much. Is that good though? She's still gone. What hurts is to still feel a lot of love for her. Like she's not here any more, and there's this love. What do we do with this love?
Fuck ideas of "the afterlife." Thank you, Denalda, for showing us what it means to live.