Names Have Power
Names have power to evoke people’s lives and inspire us to honor their memories.
“I want to remember these names, and learn from their stories,” commented @poseypetal2 on Instagram. “I wish I didn’t have to, but it’s where we are as a country. So yes, let’s say these names. Let’s remember them. Let’s change things because of them. Let’s create a better future to honor them.”
We couldn’t agree more. As the cofounder and CEO of Nameberry, I believe this is the moment for us — parents, name-lovers, and the media — to speak up to help change history. It’s been heartening to see so many other family-focused websites taking a stand on this important issue.
And there is a natural connection between names and the Black Lives Matter movement. You may have seen the beautiful Say Their Names graphic our friends at Babynames.com ran on their site. Like Archel Arindaeng’s graphic, it focuses our attention on the individual human lives behind the violent headlines.
On Instagram, Nameberry editor Sophie Kihm put together a story on the often-shameful true history of Black Names. Here are links to the studies she found:
We dedicated our newsletter this week, which was written and edited by Emma Waterhouse, to the range of excellent resources and advice from our colleagues in parenting media and the Black Lives Matter movement. We reprint it here:
+ From SELF: Check out this wide-ranging list of 44 mental health resources geared towards the Black community , as well as this fantastic series shining a light on the crisis in Black maternity care in the US.
+ From Babylist: Find more excellent links and resources in this candid article about how America is failing Black parents.
+ From BLM: Access COVID-19 specific resources , including information on available aid and local services.
+ From Parents: Read up on 11 Black and anti-racist charities to donate to now.
+ From Vox: Three activists discuss what it does and doesn’t mean to be a good ally, now and always.
+ From Successful Black Parenting: Age-appropriate talking tips for Black parents discussing the riots with their children.
+ From Motherly: Actress Nicole Byer offers advice on talking to children about racism.
+ From Parents: Anti-Racism for Kids, an age-by-age guide to fighting hate.
+ From Embrace Race: 10 tips for reading picture books with children through a race-conscious lens. (And if you’re looking for suggestions, these reading lists from Embrace Race , the NY Times , and A Mighty Girl are a great place to start!)
Finally, this wouldn’t be Nameberry without at least a brief foray back into names, right? 😉
The posts we’re sharing from our blog all celebrate Black Hero Names of inspiring Black figures from history – past and present, male and female, famous and often overlooked.
+ There are the activists, who risked (and, too often, lost) their own lives fighting for the freedoms of others.
+ There are the artists, many of whom tackled uncomfortable, and dangerous, truths head-on in their work.
+ There are the athletes, who continue to redefine the limits of what is possible and inspire the next generation.
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on June 11th, 2020 at 6:28 am
Thank you very much for writing and releasing this post, Nameberry. I know some readers may complain about your website commenting on (or even alluding to) these sociopolitical issues, but I am glad to see that you are taking a stand to counter and reduce unfair racial bias and systemic discrimination (while simultaneously staying true to your roots as a name website, complete with relevant links accordingly!). Great job to your whole team, and thank you again.
on June 12th, 2020 at 9:52 am
Thank you for writing on such an important topic.
on June 13th, 2020 at 3:03 am
Thank you so much for taking a stand and writing on this topic. I did not expect it from what I’ve assume from past articles and the normal people on here but it is so important for unexpected places to speak not his issue so people who may not usually understand have a new chance to get it. I appreciate this!! #blacklivesmatter
on June 14th, 2020 at 11:57 pm
Thank you for this thorough and important article! Much appreciated.
on June 15th, 2020 at 3:40 pm
on July 20th, 2020 at 5:53 pm
Thank you for posting this.
I just watched ““Black sounding” names and their surprising history”. It is not surprising to me that people avoid names they have preconceptions about… people avoided me because of my name and their inability to spell or pronounce it. I’ve had a nickname at work since I started working, but only recently took the time to override my family’s lack of attention to what I want to use as a name. Since putting my nickname on things, I have more people willing to talk to me, but my family still refuses to recognize my nickname. Hmmm….
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