Who says you have to choose a name that’s fun, cute, or clever? If you’ve got a little boy, we say go for it. If you’re having a girl, we say go for it. And, if you’ve got a baby of either sex, we say go for it. It’s not up to us to tell you what to do.

Here in the United States, the legal system is a bureaucracy. In other words, there is a set of rules that govern every aspect of our lives—from property rights to where we can walk, from how we travel to who we can marry. But these rules aren’t set in stone. In the past decade, there has been a growing movement to change our legal system. Among the most common changes is to alter the name of those who are “in the system.”

Rev. Elizabeth Rowley is a freelance columnist for The and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at [email protected].

A person’s name is the most important link to their identity and individuality. These names carry deep personal, cultural, family and historical ties. They give us a sense of who we are, the communities to which we belong, and our place in the world.

We are souls with bodies – we landed in these bodies on this planet in this time. Over the years we have grown, discovered new things, learned new things and become someone. Our experiences have shaped us as individuals and contribute to our individuality. The unhealed ego separates us. The healed ego unites with the whole. Their almighty rebellion is a recognition, awareness and embodiment of the oneness and connectedness with all living beings. When your name is spoken, the divine spark within you awakens and radiates your wonderful goodness outward. What’s behind the name?

Think about what the following names symbolize and what they mean to you when you hear them: Rosa Parks. Oh, my God. Florence Nightingale. Martin Luther King. Mother Teresa. Malcolm X. Nelson Mandela. Mahatma Gandhi. John Lewis. Harriet Tubman. Dalai Lama. Paramahansa Yogananda. Baba Ram Dass. The Maharajah. Amma. Oprah Winfrey.

The 911 memorial is a tribute to the 2,977 people who died in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon, and to the six people who died in the World Trade Center bombing on September 26, 2001. February 1993. Their names are engraved on the bronze parapets that surround the two memorial pools. What’s behind the name?

A wise woman once said: Keep my name in your mouth. What a great reminder to remember to speak well of others, to hold their names high when we speak of them, and to avoid gossip and negativity.
Another wise woman once said: Keep my name in your mouth. An equally important reminder to speak well of yourself, to strive to elevate yourself rather than destroy yourself with harsh, negative words. To do this, you need to take the time to detach from your inner critic.

The same woman said: I’ll keep your name in my mouth. I promise to always cheer you up and speak well of you, no matter what.

Say Their Names is an important movement that asks us to name the names of black victims who have been unjustly murdered. George Floyd. Ahmad Aubrey. Tamir Rice. Trayvon Martin. Sandra Bland. Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Tanisha Anderson. Willie Tillman. Alton Sterling. Atatiana Jefferson. Rashard Brooks. And much more.
We name them because we know that healing is powerful when grief and pain are given space in community. We are opening ourselves up to be more inclusive and welcoming.

Say their names in memory, in mourning and in healing. Say your name to call and leave. Think about your legacy and what you want your name to mean for future generations.

And it is.


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