Dani Sommerville

Dani Sommerville was a revolutionary spirit who moved to Portland to be part of queer and trans community. Dani, who died by suicide in December 2018, is remembered by everyone who loved him—his parents and the large community he found and created in his short time in Portland, as well as his community back home in Michigan–as a wonderful, kind, funny, talented, incredible musician, activist, and friend.

Dani SummervilleHis parents recall that Dani was “always so busy.” While in high school, he volunteered over 100 hours one summer break, and was awarded the Spirit of Detroit award in 2015, in recognition of outstanding leadership and commitment to improving the quality of life in Detroit. During this period, Dani volunteered at the Detroit Zoo and at an afterschool program teaching bike safety to younger students.

Dani moved to Portland after graduating from high school in 2017. He immediately started networking online, and quickly built up a community of fellow queer, trans, BIPOC, chronically ill and disabled community organizers and activists. He continued his dedication to building community and volunteering his time and whatever resources he could find to people in need.

In summer 2018, Dani was part of Occupy ICE PDX, a five-week encampment protesting the horrific treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers under the Trump administration’s national immigration policy. In October 2018, he founded Won’t Be Erased PDX, a local chapter of the national response to the federal policies eroding legal protections for transgender people in employment and healthcare.

In addition to his political activism, Dani volunteered in a local school program, organized community events, and was an active member of his shared household. He was a musician and a writer, frequently blogging about his experience and observations, and his music ( was his biggest passion. He performed at open mics and events whenever he could, and always had his guitar or ukulele out at home. One of his most known songs concludes with the powerful lyric, “I’d like to invite you to love yourself.”

Everywhere he went, Dani drew people to himself and his causes. His memory is cherished by the many who knew and loved him.





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