For every name, a heart

Posted on July 20, 2020 by Sonoma Valley Sun
Rev. Katie Morrison of the ‘Pray Their Names’ project

Visual and digital art combine to make an appeal for attention to lives lost to police violence with “Pray Their Names,” an outdoor sculpture of 160 large wooden hearts.

Starting at Sonoma’s First Congregational Church, the installation will travel to other California churches in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, July 18-August 14. There is no charge to view the display, at 252 W. Spain St.

Rev. Curran Reichert said her church is proud to host the “interactive opportunity to experience the cumulative and visceral loss that these hearts represent. As progressive people of faith, we believe that there can be no peace until there is justice for all God’s children, no exceptions.”

“Religious communities around the world stand with those on the margins, the poor and the disenfranchised,” she said.

The creative force behind the project is Rev. Katie Morrison, a Springs resident and a Special Education teacher at San Rafael’s Venetia Valley K-8 School. She hopes the work symbolizes a unifying force to bring people together to wrestle with the implications of institutionalized racism. “Once we acknowledge and face the wrong, we can begin to do what is right.”

In addition to the visual of hearts with names emerging from the ground, there is a digital component to the traveling memorial. Imprinted on the hearts will be a barcode readable by smartphones, to take viewers to a web site to read the stories and see photos of those people named in the installation.

“A whole life is in a name,” Rev. Reichert said, “from conception to death our names speak of the hopes and dreams of our parents, our own aspirations and accomplishments, our bruises and our blessings all in that universally shared possession — a name.”

This installation will travel from Sonoma to Santa Rosa, then to Mill Valley, Berkeley and Foster City.




4 thoughts on “For every name, a heart

  1. We just walked around your wonderful exhibition. Thank you so much for doing this. So many names and lives.

  2. This looks like a very moving and timely exhibit. Quite thought provoking.

    Your sign indicates each heart represents a life killed in connection with law enforcement. I am wondering why Martin Luther King Jr. is included. While a great leader, and died for the cause, He was killed by a convict.

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