Remembering the life of Soléi Spears


Baruch College Twitter

Iraj Zia, Photography Editor

Soléi Spears, a 20-year-old political science major at Baruch College, died on April 5 in her Brooklyn home by being fatally shot by her mother’s ex-boyfriend, Joseph McCrimons, who also murdered Soléi’s 45-year-old mother, Rasheeda Barzey, and 16-year-old sister, Chloe Spears.

Her half-sister was awoken by the noise and hid in her closet and called the cops on her sisters’ cell phone. According to the police, McCrimons fled the scene and later took his own life “Daddy was coming over for my birthday, and he shot people,” the 9-year-old told the operator.

Spears belonged to a Trinidadian and Haitian American background and was passionate about diversity and inclusion for Black students across the campus, volunteering with the Black History Month Planning Committee.

She was and an active member of the CUNY community, serving as the communications chairwoman on the CUNY Black Student Union.

Often amazed by the power of art, Spears loved creating her own using different mediums to reflect her identity as a Black woman.

For her final project in her African American Literature class last year, Spears talked about the importance of love.

“I find black love and self-love both imperative and beautiful to see, bear witness to and personally experience. This is often my muse anyways,” she wrote in her proposal.

In 2017, she worked at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to gain insight into the political science field.

Her activism and dedication to social issues were apparent even through her social media presence. Several posts on her Instagram talked about the injustice faced by Black people in the United States.

Spears spent the summer of 2019 in Puerto Rico, rebuilding homes after the hurricanes. She also served as a New York City conservation aide, helping clean Riverside Park.

The Baruch community was deeply affected by her passing.

Baruch’s Political Science Department remembered her life in a statement on Twitter: “Soléi served as a true agent of change and compassion for the world she wished to see and live in.” Its full statement can be found here.

After the announcement, friends and peers expressed their sympathies on social media.

“Her soul was unmatched, she was so sweet and so smart,” Spears’ childhood friend Eve Baptiste, 21, wrote. “How could anyone not love her?”

The Baruch Black Student Union gave a statement about her death to The Ticker.

“We will forever admire her for her passion to help and create a change within the Black community,” Javena Rowe, the Baruch BSU president, wrote. “She will be dearly missed for her laughs, jokes, and brilliant ideas. May her soul Rest In Peace.”

BSU of CUNY talked about the joy she brought to the world in an Instagram post.

“[She] was someone who brought positive energy to our group through her always present smile and jokes,” the group wrote. “Hardworking, activist, artist, hip hop enthusiast, smart beautiful, and so many more words can be used to describe her. Soléi, thank you for all that you have done, you will be missed angel.”

The Baruch community arranged several events to honor her memory and celebrate her life.

A GoFundMe was set up to commemorate the deceased by planting a tree and organizing a butterfly release during the memorial service in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, and to support Spears’ younger sister.

The memorial service will be held on May 15 beginning at 2 p.m. The family has asked that all attendees strictly follow social distancing protocols.