Is This Thing On?
Yes. It’s on.
Dear #SayTheirNamesLive Community,
Juneteenth is upon us again. And as promised, so is the #SayTheirNamesLive Call to Healing and Action.
What a trip around the sun it has been. Yet, here we stand, and breathe, and create. Juneteenth is now a federal holiday, but many people I know don’t feel celebratory on this day. We didn’t ask for a holiday; we asked to stop being killed in the streets.
I’m going to be very honest and say again, as I did in my last email, months ago, that I don’t know if the #SayTheirNamesLive Call to Healing and Action is working to stop police brutality. I’ve continued to watch the numbers, both in the data sets and the devastating headlines. I’ve kept the name lists as up to date as my heart and mind can bear. In the end, we’re still out here dying. Needlessly.
I don’t know if #SayTheirsNamesLive is working to stop that. It’s going to take more, so much more, than a post, a hashtag, a day…
That thought depressed me for a really long time. Then I realized something.
It may not be working to stop them from killing us. But it is helping us to heal from it. It is helping me. It helped everyone who participated in the action last year, and it helped everyone who saw or heard about the action last year. To take that moment, to claim that space, to say their names, live.
It’s a call to healing AND action.
So let’s do it. Again. Let’s invite our friends, families, and co-workers, to do it again. Let’s do it bigger, and bolder. Let’s take it outside. Let’s take it to new platforms. Let’s bring it to life.
Because at the end of the day, the “why” behind this action is to lift up the names of the slain, prove their death is not in vain, and to heal our pain.
We will always need this.
I hope you’ll join me again on June 19, and #SayTheirNamesLive.
How to Participate in #SayTheirNamesLive
- Complete the form below to take the pledge.
- Download names using the links below or create your own list of names.
- Go Live anytime on Juneteenth (June 19) on the platform of your choice at the time of your choice.
- Say names aloud for at least 10 minutes. The reading can be as simple or as creative as you’d like. Click here to listen to the #SayTheirNamesLive song I wrote and give to you all freely in dedication to these Black victims.
- Save your post with the hashtag #SayTheirNamesLive.
- Bring your people! Tag/share your post with at least 10 friends and invite them to take the pledge.
Take the #SayTheirNamesLive Pledge Here
Choose Your List of Names To Read
#SayTheirNamesLive Self-Care Plan
Though we are physically apart, we stand together in the #SayTheirNamesLive Call to Healing and Action every Juneteenth. Search platforms for the hashtag #SayTheirNamesLive. If you want your participation to be tracked, be sure to make your post public and tag it with #SayTheirNamesLive. I’ll be posting shout-outs all day long, so make sure you friend/follow me on social media.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Because I care about your well-being, here are a few Dos and Don’ts for #SayTheirNamesLive:
Do feel free to be creative, or keep it simple.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and show emotion. This is painful and tears may be part of this process.
Do involve others. Tag people into your posts!
Don’t break yourself. If you need to stop, or cancel your plans to participate honor that. I honor that.
Do tell your story while you #SayTheirNames. Remember, this is YOUR platform. Use it.
Don’t worry about the timing or quality of your post. This is for you, this is for them, this is for change. Aim for done, not perfect.
Do engage with your viewers and thank your sharers.
Don’t feed the trolls. Ignore the haters.
Do find ways to celebrate Juneteenth, which commemorates the official ending of slavery in the United States.
Don’t appropriate; be appropriate.
Read that again. Out loud.
Do figure out how to remain involved in the fight for police reform and racial justice.
Beyond this, it’s important for us all to figure out how to remain involved in the fight for police reform and racial justice. Your livestream may end, but the movement goes on until we see change.
Thanks again for uniting with me from across the country and around the world, taking turns claiming and holding this space across social media all day long on Juneteenth, centering the names of these Black victims. By doing so, we are also centering ourselves as human beings deserving of equal rights, of justice, of freedom. Black Lives Matter!
If you need anything, I’m an email, a DM, or for many of you, a text message away.
#SayTheirNamesLive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I know of a name that is missing from your list. Can you add it?
Yes. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the name, date and details and I will add it to the list as soon as possible.
Aren’t some of these killings justified?
I have included all names of Black people killed by police using the databases provided. I have not, nor will I screen these killings or deem any of them justified, as that is not my purpose with this action. With that said, you are at complete choice for the names you choose to read. I have provided a variety of lists to choose from, and you can also make or research your own list. I will not engage in debates or arguments about why names are included on this list. I take no responsibility for the accuracy of these lists, which are derived from public databases.
Is #SayTheirNamesLive a form of performative activism?
If you’re doing it because you think it will look cool on your social media page, or if you are doing it to gain likes, views, comments, shares and other forms of fake internet points, or if your investment in this issue ends the moment your live stream ends, then yeah, you are performing activism. I’m not saying you can’t participate. I’m just pointing this out to you, as will others I’m sure.
If you’re doing this because you believe Black Lives Matter, you want to speak out about stopping the extrajudicial murder of Black people by police, you’re sitting in hurt, grief, and pain over the growing number of lives lost and you want to use your platforms to bring healing and action to this moment by adding your voice to a collective of others, then no, it’s not performative.
Is it ok for me to participate if I’m not Black?
Yes. Please do. The fact is, last year, as I spent the day watching dozens of #SayTheirNamesLive posts, I noticed that most participants were not Black. And it was quite powerful. The truth is, we need allies and accomplices, holding this space and feeling this pain both with us and for us. We need your people to see it in ways they don’t when Black people carry this burden alone. Black people live this pain. We breathe these names. We ARE these names. If you are not Black, and you participate in this action respectfully, being appropriate and not appropriative, then you are not only welcome—YOU ARE HELPING. It’s as simple as that.
Every Juneteenth (June 19) I am standing and streaming for them, for us, and for myself. Will you stand with me? Will you #SayTheirNamesLive?
This is your personal invitation to join me on Juneteenth, for the Annual #SayTheirNamesLive Call to Healing and Action. Go to http://www.saytheirnames.live, take the pledge, download your chosen list of names or create your own, then stand and stream with me, for them tomorrow for at least 10 minutes on your chosen social media platform(s). Use the hashtag #SayTheirNamesLive so we can find and support you.
Thank You For Being Here
Thank you for visiting #SayTheirNamesLive. As a member of the #SayTheirNamesLive Community, you’ve accepted an invitation to your own healing. You’ve given yourself an opportunity to use your social media as a platform for peace, unity, expression, and most importantly, change.
This may be the first time some of you have done anything like this. You are not alone—I’m right there with you. We’ll all get through this together. My hope is that we’ll come out on the other side of Juneteenth believing in ourselves and each other a little more. By working in collaboration, claiming and holding this space across social media all day long, and centering the names of these Black victims, we are also centering ourselves as human beings deserving of equal rights, of justice, of freedom. Black Lives Matter!
There is healing in our action, and action in our healing. On Juneteenth we will not only be healing together, but also speaking in a united voice, demanding systematic reforms to end police brutality and racial injustice.
This won’t be a movement without you. Thanks for using your voice.