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.

Local organizers Eli Caplan and Micah Woods arrived at the memorialized names via in-depth research, using the online databases “The Counted,” compiled by The Guardian and Mapping Police Violence.

Laminated bios are placed next to the names further detailing the lives and how they were cut short. Photo: Khoi Dang Pham

“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.

Photo: Khoi Dang Pham

“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:

The Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy has supported the project, communicating with the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, City Council members, and the DWP.

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.”

Name fence
Silver Lake’s “Say Their Name Project” Photo: Cheryl Revkin

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:

Photo: Khoi Dang Pham
Photo: Khoi Dang Pham
Photo: Khoi Dang Pham
Photo: Khoi Dang Pham
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Photo: Khoi Dang Pham

Top, feature photo: Cheryl Revkin

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