Pray Their Names

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Visual and digital art combine to make a stunning appeal for attention to lives lost to police violence. “Pray Their Names” is an outdoor sculpture of 160 large wooden hearts, created in memory of 160 of the more than 7,000 black lives lost since the lynching of Emmett Till. This visual installation will move between locations throughout the Bay Area during the next months. In addition to the riveting visual of hearts with names emerging from the ground, there is a digital component to the traveling memorial. Imprinted on the hearts is a QR code readable by smart phones. Scanning the code will take viewers to a web site where they can read the stories and see photos of those people named in the installation. Additionally, if you open a browser in you mobile device and go to https://www.nilesdiscoverychurch.org/apps/PrayTheirNames.php you will have the information available on your device.

The best way to take in the art installation is to start with heart #1 and proceed across the row to the end, then move the next row and proceed the opposite direction as in a serpentile fashion. Click the "Next" button to see the information for each sign.

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What’s in a name? A whole life is in a name – from conception to death our names speak of the hopes and dreams of our parents, our own aspirations and accomplishments, our bruises and our blessings all in that universally shared possession: a name. Religious communities around the world stand with those on the margins, the poor and the disenfranchised. Niles Discovery Church is proud to host this interactive opportunity to experience the cumulative and visceral loss that these hearts represent. As progressive people of faith we believe that there can be no peace until there is justice for all God’s children… no exceptions.

This installation was first created by and installed at First Congregational Church of Sonoma in July; First Congregational Church, Santa Rosa hosted the work in August, and following its time in Fremont, the installation will travel to churches in Berkeley, Foster City, Mill Valley, Petaluma, and Sebastopol. For more information and photos of the work, see: https://www.facebook.com/Pray-Their-Names-111352017313180

Creator bio: Rev. Katie Morrison is a Special Education teacher known to her extraordinary learners at San Rafael’s Venetia Valley K-8 School as “Ms. Mo.” Her students learn about their beauty, worth and belonging under Katie’s loving tutelage. Before she was a teacher Katie traveled the nation, teaching churches about inclusion. The vision for this installation comes out of a lifelong sense of solidarity with the pain and suffering endured by black and brown bodies. Katie hopes that this visual work will be a source of healing for all bodies, a unifying force to bring people together to meet in the pain and wrestle with the implications of institutionalized racism. “Once we acknowledge and face the wrong, we can begin to do what is right.”