On Monday, July 25, 2022, we were devastated to learn that our beloved colleague Soma Mellado passed away suddenly at the young age of 28. Soma was an activist, a harm reductionist, and a friend who was full of compassion and life. They worked for three years in Prevention Point’s Housing Department before transitioning to the Overdose Prevention Team.
Sasha Pelullo of our Syringe Services Program helped Soma get their original job at PPP while the two were living together as housemates.
“Soma was so loving and charismatic. No matter what struggle they were going through, they always wanted to protect people and fight for people. But they were still one of the funniest people I knew,” Sasha says, smiling upon seeing the photo of a teenaged Soma meeting musician and satirist Weird Al.
“I knew Soma always had my back in any situation. Or anyone’s back that needed it.”
Carlos Delvalle of the Overdose Prevention Team grieves for his teammate and friend. He and Soma did overdose prevention outreach together, and often had to drop everything at a moment’s notice to respond to an emergency. Carlos recalls the time when the two of them had just reversed an overdose and were driving past McPherson Square Park when Soma actually leaped from Carlos’ moving vehicle to respond to another overdose.
“I put my blinkers on and I told the cars behind me, ‘I am not moving until my partner gets back in the car,’" Carlos says. “Soma jumped out of my car to save a woman’s life. I have seen Soma’s best moments working out here.”
Sasha describes Soma as a fighter and a friend—a person who lived and worked with purpose.
“They were always down to talk, even if they were struggling in their personal life, like with their leg injury or with mental health... They just wanted to make their life purposeful through care, protection, and building relationships with people. They loved Kensington and the community and wanted to be a part of it.”
We miss you. We love you. We will not forget you, Soma.