BLM art exhibit installed at Sonoma church to honor Black lives lost at hands of police

Bay Area

SONOMA, Calif. (KRON) — In the North Bay – many people are now visiting a Black Lives Matter art exhibit that recently went up at a Sonoma church.

The art installation, called “Pray Their Names”, sits next to First Congregational Church representing a grave site for the many lives lost at the hands of police.

160 hearts, staked into the ground — each one representing a Black life lost at the hands of law enforcement.

The art installation was recently built outside of First Congregational Church in Sonoma.

“Prayer being whether that’s walking, meditation, grieving, crying, whatever the emotion,” Katie Morrison said. “Prayer is that space to feel whatever feeling comes and to listen to what is my calling in this situation?”

Morrison is the artist behind the idea, and one of the many contributors to the project that’s now catching people’s attention.

“I was riding my bicycle around town and I saw this and I thought I have to stop. I mean it just takes my breath away. It’s almost like being in a graveyard and it’s really sobering to see.”

“Beautiful and it’s also really sad. As I was looking at it and reading their names, I think the thing that struck me the most is I wish I could just talk to these people in person and they were a name on a heart because they were killed for the color of their skin.”

At the installation, a large sign explaining its purpose and a QR code to scan with your phone to learn more about each of these names, but Morrison recognizes there’s thousands more that weren’t included.

While Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t killed by police, Morrison says his name was included to create an entry point for the exhibit.

‘Trying to create this entry point for people to think about that and then Emit Till which would recall things for people who’ve been living in the world for a long time because that was 1955 and then Medgar eEvers who was also brutally murdered as a lawyer working on lynching cases,” Morrison said.

From there the installation jumps to the deaths after 2014. 

And some hearts remain blank with no names

Also wanted people to be reminded as they walk the rows is we have a blank plate in each row and the first heart says known and unknown and we know there’s so many more traumatic experiences that happen to people every day whether they result in death or not, that aren’t told,” she said.

The art installation will remain here in Sonoma until  Aug 14.

From there it will travel to other churches across the Bay Area and even make its way to Reno, Nevada.

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