Inspiration Behind the Project
Growing up in New York, Donovan was inspired by his own experiences of being frequently stopped by the police and abused without any framework to describe his experiences or access to resources to heal from them.
It became important for Donovan to raise awareness about the mental health effects of police violence that often leaves individuals vulnerable and struggling to find ways to process feelings of loss, fear, rage, and anxiety. These experiences are far too commonplace, especially for marginalized groups, and much of the time go unnoticed.
About “We Grieve Project”
Donovan didn’t recognize how these experiences impacted him mentally until later in life, so he decided that for his Action Project he would (i) create awareness about police violence and collect trauma informed/mental health resources specific to NYC to help people impacted by police violence and (ii) remember the lives and stories of those who were ultimately killed by the police, through placing signs of remembrance across NYC for each of those persons. His future hope for the project is to highlight more of the daily experiences of police violence that communities often face.
Each sign has a unique QR code that people can scan to get access to mental health resources.
To make space for healing, Donovan acknowledged these experiences as signs of grief and trauma and created 30 signs in remembrance of the lives unjustly taken by the police and placed them across New York City. Each sign had a unique QR code that people could scan to get access to mental health resources. In the first week of the project launch, over 300 people scanned the QR code. Donovan is currently expanding the project to shed light on the everyday experiences and stories of those impacted by policing, while collecting more resources to combat it.
Donovan’s first task was to collect mental health resources that are rooted in trauma informed wellness and holistic care. Then, he collected the stories of those killed by the police in NYC, and built 30 signs for each person killed by the police in NYC. Finally, Donovan developed a website where all of the content is available, and placed all the signs across NYC.
Donovan is currently thinking about next steps for the project to grow into a site to share more stories and be informative about the everyday violence that various identities face at the hands of the police in New York City. He would further like to partner with organizations to share the resources available on the website.
- For more information about the project, visit We Grieve Project’s website.
Updated August 2022