When Kimberly Holmes Wiggins met her husband Rasheed at Duke University years ago, she knew she had found her soulmate. She was drawn to his sensitive, caring, and unique soul. After the two attended a wedding where her sorority sister and his fraternity brother joined together in matrimony, Kimberly and Rasheed embarked on their own love journey and began dating. While maintaining a long-distance relationship while Kimberly furthered her journalism career in Washington, D.C. and Rasheed lived in North Carolina, the two established an unbreakable bond and tied the knot in 2011. Sadly, things took a tragic turn for the couple on a Spring evening in 2016.
While returning from a quick store run, Rasheed lost his life after being struck by three cars at the intersection of Universal Boulevard and Destination Parkway, not too far from the couple’s Florida apartment. The first two drivers left the scene and are still at large. The third driver—who was driving a taxi—was the only one who stopped to help Wiggins. Kimberly became concerned when she couldn’t reach Rasheed and went out with their dog to go search for him only to come across a crime scene where her husband lay in the middle of the road. In just a short period of time, she found herself in the midst of a homicide investigation on an evening that was supposed to be a movie night for her and her husband. Her life was forever changed.
“Every time we would leave each other we would kiss and hug goodbye but that night we didn’t because he was supposed to come right back. When you lose someone, who plays a significant role in your life it’s hard,” Kimberly told NewsOne as she recounted what happened that night. “The real pain sets in weeks, months, and years after that. Grief never goes away, and you just learn how to live with it. One thing that is really difficult when losing a spouse is that you lose the person who treated you special.”
Mourning the loss of the love of her life has been an uphill battle for Kimberly, but she has decided to turn her pain into power and has led several efforts to create positive transformation in her life as well as the lives of others. In 2017, she launched the Rasheed A. Wiggins Entrepreneurial Prize at her and her husband’s alma mater Duke University. Rasheed who was a seasoned marketing professional was the co-founder of a digital advertising agency called AdRelief. Inspired by Rasheed’s entrepreneurial spirit, Kimberly and others who were close to Rasheed believed that the scholarship fund would keep his legacy alive by giving budding business owners the funds to launch their own ventures. The 2017 winner was a company called Flower Child Remedies which is a Black-owned natural hair product line. The winner of the 2018 prize has yet to be announced.
Kimberly has also stepped into the realm of policy change and is fighting for a bill to be passed in Florida related to hit-and-runs. According to a study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Florida is one of the top three states with the highest rates of fatal hit-and-run crashes. Under the bill, there would be an amber alert system put in place for hit-and-runs where people would be alerted about cars that left the scene. She also has launched a grief outreach organization called Still His where she provides support and sends gift boxes to widows across the country in an effort to help them heal. She also hosts several support brunches and dinners in the DMV area to cultivate a community of women who are struggling with the loss of their spouses and penned a book about how to cope with grief and support those who are grieving.
Kimberly’s latest project is a 5K run in honor of Rasheed that is slated to take place on March 23; a day before what would have been his 42nd birthday. She’s thankful that she can use her platform to help those in need, especially women of color who lack resources when it comes to seeking help after experiencing loss. “It’s hard to come from a community that tells you to keep things bottled up. But we must confront our emotions to heal. I’m appreciative of being able to use my voice,” she said. “This was one of the most eye-opening experiences for me. When getting involved with these initiatives it was about putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. I feel incredibly blessed because I was surrounded by so much love.”