Silver Lake - The many names that have been woven into the fencing around the reservoirs are being taken down over the next few days by the same group that put them up.
The “Say Their Names: Silver Lake Memorial” - featuring the names of unarmed African-Americans who were killed by police in the United States - is due to come down by Aug. 15.
“We wanted to close the circle,” said Lia Brody, who co-organized the memorial, “to have it come down in a way that was intentional and gentle.“
Contrary to early reports, no deadline was imposed by the L.A. Department of Water and Power, which oversees the reservoirs, according to agency spokeswoman Dawn Cotterell.
Names began going up onto the fence in early June, less than a week after George Floyd - the first name to appear - was killed by a Minneapolis police office kneeling on his neck for nearly eight minutes. More and more names went up over the next few days, spelled out in fabric along the 2.2-mile chain link fence around the lake. Brody estimated the number of names at around 270.
The names initially went up without the DWP’s permission. “But we let it remain up because of the gravity of the situation,” Cotterell said.
Evelyn Cortez-Davis, assistant director of water operations at the LA DWP, said the names did not present any kind of problem from the perspective of managing the reservoirs.
However, Cortez-Davis said she has been in contact with Brody for the last couple of weeks, as Brody worked out when the installation might come down.
Setting that date was a difficult decision, Brody said. Initially she considered bringing down the memorial by Aug. 1, but that felt too soon, she said. She moved it to Aug. 15 - and still wonders whether that’s too soon as well.
“I felt I was honoring my word to the Silver Lake Conservancy, who told the DWP that we would take it down when there was pressures or it was being degraded by weather or other people,” Brody said.
Say-Their-Names memorial takes shape in Silver Lake
The chain link fences that circle the Silver Lake reservoirs have been turned into a memorial as part of a protest against police brutality. The memorial pays tribute to some of the people who have died while in police custody or in confrontations with officers across the country. Their names are spelled out in strips of fabric and woven into the chainlink. Sheets and other signs have also been hung on the fence as well.
No specific date seemed to have been set by the Conservancy either. But for now, Aug. 15 seems to be the day - and the work has started.
“It’s very difficult physically,” Brody said about dismantling this tangled and knotted memorial, “but it’s also very difficult emotionally,”
As for the next step, Brody said she would like to see a “Say Their Names Meadow” by the reservoir - or perhaps some other marker to explain where the memorial was, and what it had been.
But for now, untying and cutting down the names themselves seems to be a part of the grieving process for the victims.
“The reason why we want to do this ourselves is that we want to channel our sadness,” Brody said.