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Los Angeles Department of Water and Power says memorial of unarmed Black people killed by police must come down

Written by on August 11, 2020

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has announced that a memorial honoring more than 100 unarmed Black individuals killed by police in the U.S. must come down by Saturday, according to a Monday report.

The “Say Their Names: Silver Lake Memorial,” runs more than 2 miles on a fence surrounding the Silver Lake Reservoir in east-central Los Angeles.

Residents began putting up the memorial on June 1, amid nationwide protests against systemic racism that were sparked by the police custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The memorial was mostly completed within a few days.

People walk past a chain-link fence surrounding Silver Lake Reservoir in Los Angeles, where an art installation protesting police brutality spells out, in colourful woven fabric, the names of unarmed African Americans who have been killed by police. 

People walk past a chain-link fence surrounding Silver Lake Reservoir in Los Angeles, where an art installation protesting police brutality spells out, in colourful woven fabric, the names of unarmed African Americans who have been killed by police.  (GettyAFP via Getty Images)

But a spokeswoman for the DWP told the Los Angeles Times that organizers for the memorial, which is on city property, did not obtain permission to put it up.

“The fabric can be a hazard, it breaks down, there’s debris. And not everyone wants something on the fence, or they may have different views and ideas of what art might be,” the spokeswoman said.

Lia Brody, a co-organizer for “Say Their Names,” said she knew putting up the memorial was against the department’s policy, but felt “it was totally overridden by the importance of our mission.”

LOS ANGELES TO CUT OFF WATER, POWER TO PROPERTIES HOSTING LARGE GATHERINGS

“This was an urgent moment in history when we really wanted to reach out to our community,” she added. “We’re not trying to sell anything. We were hoping they’d see this project in the context of today’s world.”

Micah Woods, another co-organizer, said some volunteers have begun to help take down the memorial, a process he estimated might take a few days.

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“It’s faster to take it down than putting it up, because there’s less weaving involved — but it’s still pretty labor-intensive,” Woods said. “Our hope is to have 50 volunteers to help.”

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