Memorial Altar: “Emerging from Darkness”
January 17, 2021 @ 12:00 pm – April 1, 2021 @ 7:00 am EST
An installation to honor personal, community, national and global loss
We welcome you to visit Freedom Square, at the corner of 101st St. (where 6th Ave. turns into 5th Ave.) in socially distanced and masked groups of 10 or less, any time(s) between 1/17-1/20, to add the names of your beloved dead and/or leave offerings on the Altar in their honor. Please come with your hearts open, make sure to wear your mask and let’s love each other via this community Altar space. This too is a form of resistance and protest!!
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As we continue working to create the more just and equitable world we know is possible, we recognize the deep need to grieve collectively. Join us as we transform Freedom Square to create a community space to express grief, loss, generosity and resilience. This participatory installation began in conjunction with our MLK day event “Rise Up: The Struggle Continues…” and the Nationwide Covid Memorial (1/19/21 at 5:30 pm) for those who have died of Covid, and is being continued because of popular demand. Community participants continue to visit the altar, leave messages, honor loved ones, and share gifts of food (wrapped for safety) and clothing.
The installation includes an Altar for our Ancestors Known and Unknown and for all those who have died longing for justice and freedom. Stop by to Say their Names, Share their/your Stories, Honor your Ancestors/Beloved Dead. Remember to visit in socially distanced and masked groups of 10 or less, to add the names of your beloved dead and/or leave offerings on the Altar in their honor.*
*Altars are sacred spaces formed with intention. A few ideas of what to place on an Altar include:
- Prayers & wishes
- Natural materials (rocks, leaves, flowers, water, dirt from your motherland)
- Pictures (copies are suggested to minimize loss of original precious mementos)
- Art, poetry, songs, letters (consider weather-proofing or bring messages and names to write on our flags)
- Some BIPOC cultures offer food/ fruits/bread/liquor/tobacco
(Please individually wrap offerings for safety. Recognizing the reality/impact of addiction, please leave only small amounts of alcohol.)
We would deeply appreciate support of this community altar!
Contact us if you’d like to volunteer or contribute in any way.
Please recognize that as you come in and out the area of Freedom Square, know that many of our neighbors have and continue to experience over-policing and gun violence and might even feel a sense of shame or dissonance from such a visible community holding space. We ask that each of you respect the right of our neighbors to stop and stare, to ask questions and engage or simply walk by. Regardless, this is a vibrant and beautiful community, so please come with your hearts open, make sure to wear your mask and let us love on each other via this community altar space. This too is a form of resistance and protest! In the honoring is the healing.
*For many of us, these times have been challenging, reminding us of loved ones who are absent and reinforcing experiences of social and economic marginality amidst a culture of consumption. This was particularly true in 2020, a year of unbearable loss amplified by COVID, the state sanctioned killings of Black bodies globally, the climate crisis and most recently, insurrection in our Capitol. Let us make space and honor our right to grieve collectively.
Altar for the Ancestors, original creation by Nancy Weber.
Co-created by the People’s Health Sanctuary program of NATURE Lab, Media Sanctuary.
Co-sponsored by Urban Grief, Troy 4 Black Lives, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Capital District, NAACP, North Central Little League, Team H.E.R.O., Troy Bike Rescue and NATURE Lab’s People’s Health Sanctuary.
Check out this tv story, 2/22/21