In the past week, thousands of people have made a pilgrimage to Klyde Warren Park in Downtown Dallas to see a temporary memorial called the Say Their Names Memorial.
“The Say Their Names Memorial is a memorial honoring over 200 Black lives lost due to racism,” co-organizer Alicia Rico explained.
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Gloria Leach of Dallas said she immediately felt emotion inspired by the memorial when she stepped into the sea of faces and names which include Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, Jordan Edwards, George Floyd, Freddie Gray and Breonna Taylor.
“I had no idea the effect it would have on me,” Leach said. “You see one face and then another face, you see a younger face, you see an older face.”
The memorial will remain until Sept. 17 and has a steady stream of people who have come to have a moment of silence, take pictures and add flowers to the flowers already present as a part of the memorial.
“If it doesn’t touch you, you don’t have feelings. If you’re not moved by it, you don’t have emotions,” Leach said. “If it doesn’t give you the urgency to do something – then we don’t matter.”
Some may be surprised to learn that the organizers are not Black themselves.
“I struggled with that when I was first taking on this project and I thought I shouldn’t be doing this because I didn’t walk in their shoes. I didn’t go through what they are experiencing,” Rico said. “But I think it is even more important for me as a white person to do something like I this because I need to stand up against discrimination.”
“I really feel like there is a need for healing and a time and place for people to grieve,” co-organizer Emily Clarke said.
The memorial started in Portland by a friend of Clarke and Rico’s who encouraged the duo to bring it to Dallas.
It has been in other locations around the city and those who visited Klyde Warren Park hope to see it continue.
“Until Black lives matter, all lives don’t matter and this is what this is telling us today,” Leach said. “If you don’t feel it, if you don’t know it, come down here and take a look. The visual is profound.”