Nashvillians from across all lines gathered at Riverfront Park by the Tara Cole memorial bench to remember friends from the homeless community who died this year. The annual memorial took place Dec. 17 and brought together people experiencing homelessness, homeless advocates, politicians and friends of the 87 people who were lost in 2016.
Mayor Megan Barry speaking at the memorial in Nashville. (Photo: Linda Bailey)
The somber tone of the memorial was reflected in the overcast weather. Friends of those lost shared memories of the departed, people offered words of comfort and power, and the memorial ended, as it does every year, with people throwing flowers into the Cumberland River.
In a powerful speech, Lindsey Krinks, homeless advocate and director of Street Chaplaincy and Education at Open Table Nashville Inc, asked those in attendance to take their memories and turn them into action to create a Nashville that welcomes and protects all people.
“This year, as we watch the flowers drift away, as we let go of what we need to let go of, let us also hold tight, dig in and find our breath. Let us breathe in our losses and breathe out hope. Let us breathe in our grief and breathe out a fierce commitment and love for one another. Let us breathe in the ashes of a broken system and breathe out a city that scatters the proud, lifts up the lowly and fills the hungry with good things,” Krinks said.
“The dead are not gone and death does not have the final say. Listen. Breathe. What will we do with their memory?”