Making Memorials: Naming The Lost Continues to Honor Those Lost to COVID-19

An evening closeup of Kay Turner’s memorial as it appeared on September 8 on Roebling between South 1st and South 2nd Streets.

Naming the Lost is a grassroots movement that seeks to honor those who have lost their lives to COVID-19. Their mission is to honor the dead and heal the living through a united mourning. The group’s first event was a 24-hour livestream vigil at which the names of those lost to COVID-19 were read from 2 p.m. on May 20th–2 p.m. on May 21st. At that time there were half as many Americans who had died of COVID-19 as there are at present (09.10.20).

Most recently, Naming the Lost engaged in: A Labor of Mourning. From Labor Day through 9-11 (September 7–11) the public is invited to participate in making and displaying memorials for those lost to COVID-19.  This is an ongoing project. After A Labor of Mourning ends the creation of these memorials are encouraged to continue. Anyone interested in participating can go to the website: where there are tools, source lists to find names, and contact info to assist in helping you along the process.  If you wish to post your memorial on social media use the hashtag: #namingthelostmemorials.

Full view of Kay Turner’s memorial on September 8

Kay Turner a volunteer organizer for Naming the Lost (also a long-time resident of Williamsburg’s Southside) who came up with the idea, was inspired by the street memorials of 9-11, “that people took responsibility to serve the dead.” She has made her own memorial for three people she knew who died of COVID-19. On September 8 she sat out with her memorial on Roebling between South 1st and South 2nd. “I sat with it for 3 hours and talked with neighbors and passersby about COVID losses,” Kay said. If you were in the neighborhood and you passed by on September 11, you may have seen her and her memorial.

“Creating the memorials has been a way to recognize and honor those who have been lost, but also a way to connect us as a community as we work with artists, activists and scholars on this project–finding ways to not feel alone, to contribute and give back to our communities and lastly, to give voice to our disappointment, anger, and sadness concerning the way this crisis has been handled by those in a power,” said Elena Martinez, volunteer organizer of Naming the Lost Memorials.

Having a discussion and coming together as a community is an important aspect of this cause. As so many have died alone and mourners have mourned alone, this project is a way to break out of the isolation of the times.

For more information on Naming the Lost Memorials go to:

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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