San Diego African American Museum of Fine Arts Presents “Say Their Names” Exhibit

There is a new memorial exhibit that’s currently on display in San Diego, California, through July 24, 2021, honoring dozens of Black Americans who lost their lives interacting with police or who were victims of hate crimes. 

After it had been shown in some 30 cities around the country, the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Arts, under the direction of Gaidi Finnie is responsible for bringing the traveling, outdoor exhibit called “Say Their Names” to downtown near The New Children’s Museum at the park.

The nationwide “Say Their Names” initiative got its start in Portland, Oregon on June 19, 2020, by sisters Joy and Elise Proctor. Joy Proctor said they created the memorial after mass protests of George Floyd’s death.

Some of the names in the exhibit are familiar such as Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, while others are less well known, such as Alfred Olango, a 38-year-old former refugee from Uganda who in 2016 was shot and killed by El Cajon police who thought his e-cigarette was a weapon.Most of those memorialized had fatal encounters with police, but some were victims of hate crimes committed by non-law-enforcement people, such as 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955, after being accused of flirting with a White woman.  The nine Bible Study attendees who were shot to death in Charleston, S.C.after praying with the White supremacist assailant, and the four black little girls killed on 1963 during Sunday morning services in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.  

Attendees of the memorial were handed out flowers to place at the memorial site besides the victims names.

San Diego’s African American Museum of Fine Arts was established in 1992 by the late Shirley Day Williams, a longtime San Diego resident and art patron. The organization does not have its own location but looks for locations throughout the city to hold its art exhibits.

The closing ceremony will be held on Sunday, July 25, 2021, from 2:00 PM-4:00 PM at The New Children’s Museum Park. Activities will include Line Dancers, Spoken word, poetry and meaningful expressions.

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