Kirkland churches are joining in a national movement creating “Say Their Names” Memorials throughout the U.S., putting names and faces to the racial injustice and violence Black Americans have faced.
The Say Their Names Memorial was installed on Oct. 20 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Kirkland, and will be open to the public through November. Masks and social distancing are required.
The memorial along the outsides of churches features 240 pictures of Black victims of systemic racism, including violence from police brutality, since the mid-nineteenth century. It’s also accompanied by donated flowers from local florists that were placed by volunteers who spent hours to put together the display.
The Kirkland memorial was supported the city of Kirkland, with Rev. Michael Ryan from St. John’s and lead by Woodinville event planner Karen Thornton.
“Our goal is to offer a chance for introspection and to encourage community members to better understand the role each of us plays in ongoing, systematic racism, while honoring those lives taken by it,” Thornton stated in a release on the memorial.
A GoFundMe is available to support the cost of fresh flowers, tools and other resources. The remaining funds also go to a nonprofit organization. Flowers will need to be refreshed for the next several weeks, Thornton said in the GoFundMe bio.
Other Kirkland churches involved include Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, Kirkland Congregational United Church of Christ, Lake Washington United Methodist Church, Lake Washington Christian Church and Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church.
“I am pleased to welcome the Say Their Names Memorial in our city and appreciate Saint John’s Episcopal and the other faith-based organizations for hosting this beautiful and powerful exhibit,” Kirkland Councilmember Kelli Curtis stated.
The memorial campaign was started in Portland, Oregon on Juneteenth this year, and has 25 locations in the U.S. Founder Joy Proctor and organizers share the photographs and information to interested participants, such as the churches in Kirkland.
Information for interested participants that want a similar memorial can visit saytheirnamesmemorials.com.
“Our hope is that when people experience the memorial and look into the eyes of those no longer with us, they have a chance to reflect,” Joy Proctor stated. “We want this to spur dialogue and even action across the nation in the communities where these memorials have been displayed.”