Know Their Names: A Memorial for the Fallen, 1121 COBJ, Vol. 50, No. 10 Pg. 10

PositionVol. 50, 10 [Page 10]

50 Colo.Law. 10

Know Their Names: A Memorial for the Fallen

No. Vol. 50, No. 10 [Page 10]

Colorado Lawyer

November, 2021



In response to the dozens of Black Americans whose lives have been taken or destroyed at the hands of reckless police officers, it is time to pay homage beyond rallies and funeral services. It is time for America to create a "Memorial for the Fallen," just like the memorials for World War II casualties and for victims of violence in Riverside, California. This memorial will serve the dual purpose of acknowledging the lost lives of Black people at the hands of police officers and providing a space where Americans can gather and grieve.

Why We Build Memorials

Memorials serve as reminders of specific historical and, at times, tragic events that have caused large groups of people to lose their lives. Memorials are a physical place for people to mourn and process their pain. Ten years after die Vietnam War ended, we erected a memorial to honor those who fought and lost their lives. Within hours of George Floyd's murder, a makeshift memorial was created outside of Cup Foods. These physical commemorations create a sanctuary for individuals to honor others who have gone before.

But it is bigger than that. Memorials force us to recognize the significance of these events and these lives. They validate the cause for which they stand. From my perspective, anyone who argues against having a Memorial for the Fallen unveils their racism. Do they feel the same about memorials for other victims? Or is it because this memorial will confront police violence and challenge systemic racism?

NPR reported that since 2015, police have fatally shot a minimum of 135 unarmed Black men and women in the United States.1 That means at least 135 families have been irrevocably damaged, 135 people are missing from the dinner table, and 135 human beings no longer walk this Earth because police officers trained and paid by taxes collected from Black people have acted out against us. A memorial will affirm that the lives of the Fallen and their loved ones matter.

A memorial will also begin the healing process and ease the waves of resistance that are occurring in marches in our streets. The process required to build a memorial—crafting the RFPs, choosing the sculpture artist, and so on—will be a time and place for conversations around racism and injustice with...

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