‘Shimi was my role model’: Community mourns beloved performance artist, LGBTQ+ social justice champion

S.T. Shimi died after being hit by an SUV on Wednesday evening

SAN ANTONIO – She was a performance artist known for her talent, beauty, and social justice, but on Wednesday evening, S.T. Shimi’s life came to a tragic end.

Thanalakshmi Subramaniam, better known as S.T. Shimi, succumbed to her injuries after being hit by an SUV in the 6400 block of Blanco Road.

Messages of love poured in on social media after her friend and longtime neighbor Cherise Rohr Allegrini announced her passing.

“It’s rare in life to find a light that shines so bright, it shines on us all. That is the light that is S.T. Shimi. Her beauty, her grace, her spirit, her bad-ass woman, her fight for social justice, for art, for women, for people of color, for righteousness,” Rohr Allegrini wrote on Facebook.

Rohr Allegrini met S.T. Shimi after moving into a home just two doors down in 2004. Along with their friend and neighbor, Angela, the three women of varying styles were donned the nickname “Real Housewives of Devine” by S.T. Shimi herself.

“If you know Shimi, she was NOTHING like a stereotypical ‘housewife.’ The three of us are all very different in our style and even ways of living, but I loved that she pulled us all together,” Rohr Allegrini said.

S.T. Shimi was known for not holding back and was always honest with the people she knew.

“She was also kind and generous. She gave of herself, as herself. She didn’t hold back. She spoke her mind, even when it was hard to hear, but then you wanted more,” Rohr Allegrini said. “You just felt ‘real’ when you were around her. No airs, nothing false. She didn’t take crap from anyone.”

S.T. Shimi was pursuing her master’s degree in creative writing at Our Lady of the Lake University. Rohr Allegrini says her friend’s teachings made an impact on people of all ages.

“Speaking as a parent at a school where she taught arts to students for many years, her mentoring of people of all ages in the arts has had a huge impact. Her support and encouragement, her teaching about intersectionality and how to incorporate that into art was impactful,” Rohr Allegrini said.

S.T. Shimi also influenced Rohr Allegrini’s 14-year-old daughter, Angelina, who would sometimes ride the bus with her.

“Shimi said she’d show her how to handle the jerks,” Rohr Allegrini said.

“I’m still a little shocked. Shimi was my role model. She had this energy about her that made me want to be like her. I loved her sense of humor whether it was appropriate or not. I always had a smile when I was around her,” Angelina wrote on Instagram.

Angie's post on S.T. Shimi (Cherise Rohr Allegrin)

S.T. Shimi was also known as a champion for LGBTQ+ issues and incorporated her art within the community.

“She has always been heavily involved in the local LGBTQ+ community including through her art, including her performance as Buck, the Drag King,” Rohr Allegrini said.

It is with deep sadness that we learn of the passing of our dear friend S.T. Shimi or as many of us know her, Black...

Posted by The Center - Pride Center San Antonio on Thursday, December 3, 2020

Robert Salcido, executive director of Pride Center San Antonio, said S.T. Shimi would often give her time to help the LGBTQ+ community.

“Shimi was a huge supporter of The Center - Pride Center San Antonio. She performed at 6 of the last 8 of our annual benefit fundraiser, The Emerald Ball. Shimi had a heart for giving back and supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

Her light shined bright, and while she’s not with us in the physical world any longer, her light will continue to shine as she leaves behind a legacy of compassion, heart, and love.”

As Rohr Allegrini says goodbye to her longtime friend and neighbor, she shares that S.T. Shimi’s light will never dull.

“I can’t say her light has been extinguished, because it will forever shine brightly in all of us who have been touched by Shimi. Our hearts are forever broken. May her spirit be with us, with her beloved Oscar Alvarado, her father and brother, her many dear friends and family, and her sweet Tasha Yar.”

It's rare in life to find a light that shines so bright, it shines on us all. That is the light that is S.T. Shimi. Her...

Posted by Cherise Rohr-Allegrini on Thursday, December 3, 2020

About the Authors:

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and KSAT.com includes covering breaking news of the day, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" and "KSAT Money" series.

Before starting KSAT in 2017, Lee was a photojournalist at KENS 5, where he won a Lone Star Emmy in 2014 for Best Weather Segment. In 2009 and 2010 Lee garnered first-place awards with the Texas Association of Broadcasters for Best Investigative Series in College Station, as well as winning first place for Staff Photojournalism in 2011 at KBTX.