As protests against institutional racism and police brutality continue across the country, anti-racism allies and activists are on the lookout for ways they can support this movement.
Jennifer Moss, founder of BabyNames.com, decided to “stand in solidarity with the Black community” in a poignant and meaningful way. Instead of the typical content suggesting popular or unusual names for babies, the website now has a banner at the top of the homepage that lists the names of Black people who were killed during an interaction with police in recent years or murdered by a police officer, as in the case of Laquan McDonald.
The message above the list is simple but gut-wrenching: “Each of these names was somebody’s baby.”
Since the new homepage has gone live, social media users have been reaching out to BabyNames.com to let them know about other lives that have been lost to racism and police violence.
The list begins with Emmett Till, whose brutal murder in 1955 helped launch the civil rights movement. Every day, the list is updated with new names, such as Corey Carter, as the website recently tweeted:
— BabyNames.com (@babynamesdotcom) June 12, 2020
While it is touching to see online communities collaborate to ensure that these men, women and children are not forgotten, the ever-growing list of names on the website is a crushing reminder of the scope of racism in this country.
“The statement we’re making is that these are not just names on a page, but loved ones,” a BabyNames.com representative shared with Jezebel.
The representative explained that the website design was in part inspired by this list created by NPR, which lists all the Black men and women killed in the hands of police officers since 2014. (NPR’s list begins with Eric Garner, who was killed by white police officer Daniel Pantaleo after he put Garner in a chokehold. Pantaleo never faced any criminal charges.)
Artists have written the names of these men and women lost to police violence on the streets of Minneapolis.
Twitter user @xDiegoMontana tweeted a snapshot of the artwork, accompanied by the hashtag #SayTheirNames:
Also in Minneapolis, activists have created a lasting memorial to these lives cut short by racism. The “Say Their Names” cemetery honors each Black person who died at the hands of the police with a headstone, as captured here by Twitter user Abdul Abdi.
Here are more #SayTheirNamescemetery Aiyana Jones 7 YEARS old BABY when killed, Ernest Satterwhite-68 yrs, Sandra Bland-28, if you want add See Anna Barber or Connor Wright. #GeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForGeorge #Minneapolisprotests pic.twitter.com/YjRWOx0zZ5
— Abdul Abdi (@RealAbdulAbdi) June 8, 2020