As tall as the sky

I want a monument. I want a memorial on the National Mall. It will be names, like the Vietnam War Memorial, but it will be vertical. It’s base, deep set in the earth, will be 5+ million mostly unknown names of those lost at sea. And then upward it will grow, name after name, Alton, Sandra, Tamir, up and up, Michael, Trayvon, Philandro. Bones and names, blood and names, skin and names. No one should ask for permission to build this monument, just as no enslaved person acquiesced to their shackles, no murdered person begged for the fatal bullet, no loved child said yes, take my daddy from me. Even now, before it has been built, we live in its shadow. We call the shadow America. And maybe we even love it, but love is not enough. Tears are not enough. Rage and screaming and letters to legislators are not enough. Nothing will ever be enough until there are no more names to add, until parents grow old and children grow up. Until parents grow old. And children grow up.

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