Community pays tribute to Richard Justice

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Augusta, GA (WJBF)- One of the most difficult things about the pandemic for many is the inability to have a funeral or memorial for loved ones who have passed.

Richard Justice, prominent artist and activist, died in August from COVID-19 and this weekend, friends and family will remember him.

Longtime friends said that this past year has been difficult and because of the pandemic, they’ve had to deal with delayed grieving and not being able holding a memorial.

Justice was most known as an actor and director and an activist in the LGBTQ+ community. He sat on the board for the Pride Festival, and created Beats on Broad and the President’s Soiree.

On Saturday at 2 p.m., people will gather for the first live performance at the Imperial Theater since the beginning of the pandemic, to remember a man they say was a force of nature.

Three eulogies will be given and there will be music by soloists and ensembles made up of loved ones and local artists who were inspired by him.

A longtime friend said Justice would have loved the program.

“I think that’s just so appropriate and wonderful isn’t it? Because he brought so many people into that theater over the years. It was a place that he loved and it’s right beside the Commons where the Pride Festival has been such a success every year and that’s something he was so devoted to and loved,” smiled David Johnston.

Justice was an avid human rights and AIDS Awareness activist as well. Johnston said the impact he had on so many people was profound and that his legacy will last a long time.

“It just amazes you, even me, someone who knew him so well, what an impact he had on this community and you can’t replace that. Certainly not quickly. And it’s astounding that that was one person.”

Justice’s loved ones want to encourage people to get vaccinated to protect their own loved ones who are at high risk. They believe that a vaccine could have saved Justice’s life if one had been available and that he’d have been first in line to get one when it was his turn.

Photo Journalist: Mark Gaskins

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