JCMP’s Work with the The Equal Justice Initiative’s Community Remembrance Project
The Community Remembrance Project is part of EJI’s effort to partner with communities to recognize the victims of racial terror lynching through education events, collecting soil from lynching sites, erecting historical markers in communities where racial terror lynchings occurred, and creating a memorial that acknowledges the horrors of racial injustice.
EJI has documented more than 4400 racial terror lynchings throughout the country between 1877 and 1950. For a more comprehensive understanding of the historical and contemporary analysis and discussion that informs the scope and purposes of EJI’s community remembrance project, EJI encourages community members and potential partners to read EJI’s Lynching In America report and to engage with the interactive website.
Many communities where lynchings took place have not created spaces to address the history of lynching and most victims have never been publicly acknowledged in these communties. To create greater awareness and understanding about racial terror lynching and the legacy of this violence, EJI works with communities to engage in truth-telling work through educational events and remembrance ceremonies.
EJI’s Community Remembrance Project has several components that are all connected and intended to create opportunities for the community to deepen an understanding of the history of racial terror lynching and it’s continued legacies. EJI believes that truth and reconciliation are sequential. In order to get closer to healing and repair, we must address oppressive histories by honestly and soberly recognizing the pain of the past. In order to build towards those goals after an era of enslavement, an era of racial terror lynching and violence, an era of Jim Crow segregation, an era mass incarceration, we have to commit ourselves to building an era of truth and justice. We have to be intentional about creating space for honest engagement with the work of truth-telling.
As communities consider working with EJI to respond to the call to action to claim the monument from the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, it’s critical that communities understand the monument as part of a larger effort/process of engaging in truth-telling work (under EJI’s community remembrance project umbrella). As of now, EJI has not yet released any of the memorial monuments to any of the communities that they represent. However, EJI encourages communities to consider partnering with EJI on other aspects of the community remembrance project to build towards community readiness for the memorial monument as well as building a local commitment to truth-telling work. Claiming the monument is not the end goal; the purpose is to help communities confront and recover from tragic histories of racial violence and terrorism and to create an environment where there can truly be equal justice for all.
The process of community readiness includes public education, community engagement and raising consciousness about the local history of racial terrorism and it’s present-day legacy in that community. At this time, EJI continues to work with communities through the Soil Collection and Historical Marker Projects which allow for engagement with activities aimed at helping to create space for honest reflection and recognition of this history. Community partners who participate in these projects will also bring the experience of that work to an understanding of what it means and symbolizes to claim the memorial monument which will be helpful to do this work with great intentionality.
EJI currently encourages and welcomes community partners to consider participating in our Community Remembrance Historical Marker Project as a meaningful step in the process towards engaging with effort to claim the memorial monument, which can be preceded or followed by a Soil Collection Project, as well. Community members and partners who choose to pursue a historical marker project in particular will have the opportunity to complete some of the preliminary steps necessary for participation in claiming the memorial monument.
For more information, updates, or to pose any questions, please feel welcome to reach the team at EJI by emailing email@example.com.