In Salt Lake City amidst the hustle and the bustle, you can find peace and quiet at the “Say Their Names” memorial that honors black lives lost to injustice.
The memorial includes a fence covered with images of men and women, boys and girls who have suffered or died because of the color of their skin.
People filled the fence with flowers and even lined a few candles to honor the black lives lost. Founder of the nonprofit “Versatile Image,” Michelda George, brought the traveling memorial to Salt Lake City in hopes of raising awareness of racial injustice in Utah.
George said, “There are people that live here that don’t know that police brutality is something that happens here in Utah. It’s like, ‘Well, are they living under a rock? Are they living in a bubble? Is the media not really highlighting those things, or is it just something people are choosing to overlook?”
The memorial started in Portland, Oregon, on Juneteenth 2020 and has since then been put up in over 25 locations nationwide. Not only does the memorial honor recent black lives lost, but also famous people from the past, such as Emmett Till or Martin Luther King Jr.
The memorial’s website says the aim of the memorial is to facilitate conversation around what they call systemic racism while honoring those whose lives have been taken by it.
“We have to be honest and understand and see the injustices, or just the unfair treatment, a specific community is experiencing,” George said. “I cannot share space with people in a community and just expect things to be my way. That’s not the case anymore.”
The creators say their goal is to get a “Say Their Names” memorial in every state across the country. The memorial in Salt Lake will remain up through October 26th.