Every November 1 on All Saints’ Day, United Methodists across the globe publicly remember those who have passed away, honoring their lives and legacy. This year, with the overdue spotlight on the unjust and discriminatory treatment suffered by black people, it was fitting that we honor those lives lost due to racially-motivated violence throughout the years.
The Say Their Names Memorial remembers those who have died because of the systemic racism that is embedded in our nation’s systems of government and policing. It is also reflection of our stance as a United Methodist Church on racial healing and justice, as we recognize racism as a sin and commit to challenging unjust structures of power. This memorial contains more than 215 images of men, women and children across the country who have been killed as a manifestation of systemic racism, which is just a representative sample of the thousands of black people who have suffered and/or died in this manner throughout United States history.
The idea for this memorial came from a church member, Ann Allen, after she’d experienced a similar memorial elsewhere in town. She brought it to our Racial Justice Cohort, a group of members dedicated to racial healing as both inner work and community transformation, and they began to build the plan. Under the leadership of Lori and Jim Louis, the Cohort and our United Methodist Men and Women’s groups brought the memorial to life.
This memorial will be on display through Nov. 22. Please feel free to leave flowers and other sentiments in honor and remembrance.
Read the United Methodist Church’s Social Principles on Race.
Read the Social Justice Charter enacted by United Methodist Women.