MAINE, USA — Those who knew Nicole Mokeme are remembering her for her loving nature, advocacy, support for Black and Indigenous communities, and her passion for uplifting others.
"She was probably one of the most forgiving, patient, and encouraging people. She wanted to see you do great, no matter what you were doing," Moon Machar said, a friend of Mokeme.
Mokeme was one of the organizers of the Black Excellence Retreat 2022 at the Schoodic Institute located in Acadia National Park over the weekend, where she was killed.
Maine State Police said she died after being struck by a car sometime between Saturday night and early Sunday morning. The driver reportedly took off.
Officials are asking for the public's assistance in locating the vehicle believed to be a 2016 Black BMW X3 SUV with license plate 5614WM. Police said the car is registered to Raymond Lester, 35, of Portland.
"A legacy already established, but a legacy just starting to become," Rev. Kenneth I. Lewis Jr. said. Mokeme attended Green Memorial AME Zion Church in Portland, where Lewis serves as Reverend.
"I think Nicole wanted to exude all layers of life and engage people in every aspect of self determination, inner strength, faith," Lewis said.
Both Lewis and Machar are remembering Mokeme for her loving nature. They say she was compassionate, understanding, and fierce advocate for communities of color.
Mokeme was the creative director of the Rise and Shine Youth Retreat. The organization aims to empower people of color.
Machar said through retreats and programs, Mokeme helped young Black and Indigenous kids experience the Maine outdoors and gain confidence in the process.
"Nicole knew how important it was for us, as a Black community, as a community of color, as people of Indigenous and African heritage to connect with the land, and that was her biggest motivation and dream," Machar said.
Machar and Lewis say she was also a mother, and always involved in her community. They hope to see her advocacy and work continue.
"Her spirit, everything she taught us, and the ways that she touched us, we should continue to move it forward. Because that's what Nicole would want," Machar said.