Silver Lake Expands Its “Say Their Names” Project
After Silver Lake residents fashioned a memorial to unarmed Black American citizens killed by police last month, volunteers have augmented their efforts. The two-mile memorial – created with multi-colored fabric woven into chain-link fence spelling out names of about 200 individuals – now includes laminated biographies, further detailing lives and how they were cut short.
“Say Their Names: Silver Lake Memorial” held a candlelight vigil in early June as neighbors and visitors gathered near the reservoir, a neighborhood fixture. The reservoir was chosen as a place to memorialize the individuals partly because of its popularity with joggers, bicyclists and others who regularly circle the location.
“The vast majority” of local participants have been “privileged white people, that was the reality,” said Eli Caplan in a Los Angeles Times story about the project. “It’s so important to bring the names of Black people into a predominantly white space. But this isn’t a Silver Lake problem. It’s a U.S. problem, it’s an everywhere problem.”
The Silver Lake History Collective recently conducted an interview with co-organizers Caplan and Woods:
In a statement, the Conservancy wrote, “The DWP has stated that they recognize ‘this is a time of reflection, movement and discussion to raise awareness about the racial injustices that exist,’ and have no plans to disturb the signs.”
There is no timeline as to how long the memorial will stay up, but “when the time is appropriate, we plan to work with organizers to remove the names in a respectful and reflective way,” the Conservancy wrote.
Below are more of the new laminated biographies placed next to the names:
Top, feature photo: Cheryl Revkin
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
R. Daniel Foster is a widely published writer, visual artist, and documentary filmmaker. His work has been featured by PBS, the LA Opera, the Kennedy Center, and Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center. A veteran independent writer for the Los Angeles Times, he has covered art, culture, and architecture. His stories and essays have also appeared in the Tin House, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, Esquire, the Advocate, the San Francisco Chronicle, and on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and Marketplace, among others.