The SAY THEIR NAMES Public Art Installation in Ashland
This community-driven effort to create a permanent, public art installation inspired by the Say Their Names Memorial is a collaborative project sponsored by individual community members, SOARB, as well as BASE, SOBLACC, and SOEquity, which are each Black-led organizations.
A permanent public art installation that celebrates Black lives and reflects on this important chapter in our nation’s history is underway.
Driven by members of the Ashland community with guidance from the city’s Public Arts and Parks Commissions, a permanent public art installation is being planned in Ashland’s Railroad Park. This grassroots coalition is commissioning an artist or group of artists to create a public, community-oriented art installation around the theme of Black Lives Matter in the Rogue Valley. This theme includes but is not limited to: a reflection on the Black Lives Matter movement and this important chapter in our nation’s history, an illumination of the experiences of Black residents in the Valley, and an homage to the life of Aidan Ellison.
This installation is inspired by the Say Their Names Memorial that is currently on display at Railroad Park in Ashland. The Memorial came to be on June 28, 2020 - in recognition of the passing of Oregon's Lash Laws - and in the aftermath of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor. This art is the collective labor of passionate and concerned citizens of the Rogue Valley and part of a national undertaking to make sure the lives of those killed are never forgotten.
The aim of this endeavor is to create a dialogue about race, bring together Rogue Valley residents of all backgrounds, and serve as a declaration of our commitment in Ashland and the Rogue Valley that Black lives matter. We hope that through continued conversation, recognition of our shared history, and this public avowal, that we can work towards becoming a more united and inclusive Rogue Valley community.
May 25, 2020 - George Perry Floyd, Jr. is murdered by Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis
May 26, 2020 - Protests begin in Minneapolis and then, around the world
May 31, 2020 - Black Lives Matter protests held in Ashland
June 28, 2020 - The Say Their Names Memorial is put up in Ashland’s Railroad Park by local artists on the anniversary of the passing of Oregon’s Lash Laws.
August 22, 2020 - Less than 2 months after its installation, the Memorial is destroyed and taken down overnight.
August 23, 2020 - The community comes together to make an even more powerful memorial that still lives in Ashland’s Railroad Park.
November 23, 2020 - Ashland teenager Aidan Ellison is killed at Ashland’s Stratford Inn. His name is added to the many others.
February 2021 - The Say Their Names Coalition forms to shepherd the memorial into permanence