HOUSTON – – The “Say Their Names” memorial exhibit honoring Black Americans whose lives have been lost due to social injustice, police brutality and racism made its way to Houston’s Emancipation Park this week.
The grassroots initiative, which was started in Portland, Oregon on Juneteenth 2020, has been on display in over 25 locations nationwide.
Houston community activist and rapper Trae Tha Truth ran across the exhibit online, then worked with organizers to bring it to Houston.
“I have a habit of showing love when I recognize something that is great. I seen a picture of this when it was posted when it was in Dallas,” Trae Tha Truth said. “It wasn’t getting the recognition it needed but I felt it was dope. I knew there were a lot of people across the world who would love to pay their respects and see something like this.”
The community activist said he reached out to the founder, Joy Proctor, and Dallas organizer, Emily Clarke, and formed a partnership with them to help the memorial get more exposure, especially in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and Vanessa Guillen.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner praised Trae for his tireless work of community service, and spoke of the signifance of where the exhibit stands.
“We are right here in Emancipation Park, which is quite fitting. A park that came into existence in 1872 by Pastor Jack Yates and a few others,” Turner said. “As the mayor of Houston and a person of color, there are so many strong emotions that are evoked from this display of over 200 photos of people who are no longer physically with us. You simply cannot take that walk without feeling their spirit. For the next 15 days, Emancipation Park will be a place of healing and reflection to commemorate the lives of those who were taken away from us too soon. It will also serve to inspire all of us to do even more, to do everything we can so that this memorial will not continue to grow.”
Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Commissioner Rodney Ellis, State Representative Ron Reynolds, Texas rap legend ‘Bun B’ Freeman, Emancipation Park Conservancy Ramon Manning, Board Chairman, and Houston exhibit organizer DeRonica Horn were also in attendance.
“People always ask, ‘why do we continue to say their names?’ The thing is, after the social media wave and the regular media wave goes away in a week or two weeks, they still need people to stand up and fight for them and show them that they care,” Trae said.
Click here to donate for the exhibit., which is on display through Oct. 13.