Since the May of last year, Naming the Lost Memorials, a small team of volunteers has been curating memorial sites across the city to name and remember victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomorrow, they will be setting up a memorial on 200 feet of the Green-Wood Cemetery's fence along 5th Avenue at 25th Street.
The memorial, titled WE REMEMBER: A COMMUNITY COVID MEMORIAL, will consist of thousands of nameplates with drawings and photos created by the families and friends of those lost to the virus. It will remain on display from June 8 through 28, 2021, and during this time, the public is encouraged to create and add their own nameplates to the memorial. (You can submit a name of a loved one lost for the memorial at www.bit.ly/namingthelost. And if you wish to volunteer with the installation, sign up at www.bit.ly/namingthelost.)
More than 20 community-based organizations have come together to contribute names and to create nameplates - Academy of Medical and Public Health Services, Bangladesh Institute of Performing Arts, Bronx Documentary Center, Brooklyn Roots, Building Stories, LLC, Caring Majority, Center for Family Life, Guyana Cultural Association of New York, Fort Tryon Jewish Center, Flushing Town Hall, Hebrew Tabernacle, Inside Change Arts: Bowery Resident and Street Artists, Inside Change Arts: The 5th Grade Formulators of the Bedford Village School; JouvayFest Collective; Makandal: Bridging the Past and the Future of Traditional Haitian Arts; Teachers & Writers Collaborative; Mazarte Dance Company Inc.; Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture Without Borders; Missing Them, a COVID-19 memorial with THE CITY newsroom; Mixteca; and Worker Justice Project
So far, the pandemic has claimed the lives of almost 600,000 people across the country, and more than 52,000 in the city. The interactive memorial creates a space to grieve.
Mon Yuck Yu, Executive Vice President & Chief of Staff at Academy of Medical & Public Health Services hopes that Naming the Lost will allow us to remember those we have lost as a community, and heal - together.
“The losses that we experienced during the pandemic have exacerbated challenges that our communities face every day," Yu says. "It has affected the mental health of our communities. Naming the Lost will be part of our healing."
"Mourning and remembrance are still necessary acts," said Kay Turner, a member of Naming the Lost Memorials. As the pandemic rages in other countries, "Naming those lost to COVID-19 must continue. Our memorial at Green-Wood provides a place to do just that.”
Green-Wood Cemetery welcomed the first Naming the Lost memorial last May.
“All of us at Green-Wood have seen, firsthand, the toll that COVID-19 has taken on family, friends, our community and even our industry. This beautiful living memorial gives us a special place to remember what they meant to us and how they each made this world a better place,” said Richard J. Moylan, President of Green-Wood in a statement.
Everyone is is invited to participate in the launch and dedication ceremony, which will take place on Tuesday, June 8th (June 9th, rain date) from 6–9pm by the main entrance to Green-Wood Cemetery at 5th Avenue and 25th Street. The ceremony will include song, prayer, movement, and a candle lighting ritual, accompanied by a “naming of the lost.”