A jewelry line called “Wear Their Names” made out of glass gathered the morning after riots in Charleston, South Carolina, meant to honor black people who died during incidents involving police officers has faced criticism from the community, the Charleston Scene reported.
The line was designed by Paul Chelmis and Jing Wen and includes earrings, rings, and bracelets made of silver and shattered glass from storefronts, according to the Charleston Scene. The pieces are titled The Tamir (Rice), The Ezell (Ford), The Tanisha (Pughsley), The Trayvon (Martin), The Gabriella (Nevarez), The Breonna (Taylor), The Eric (Garner) and The Elijah (McClain).
“My camera is my greatest weapon of making a difference in the world, and it was killing me I couldn’t be there to document that moment,” Chelmis said, the Scene reported. “I kind of saw it as a natural reaction. Like yeah, of course this is the result of our inattention. Instead of focusing on how terrible these people are who are ‘rioting,’ we should focus on what we should do to prevent it from happening in the future.”
just when we thought it couldn’t get ANY worse… pic.twitter.com/iGm7423PeI
— sophie the cat lady (@sophieming_) September 8, 2020
All proceeds would have been donated to “From Privilege to Progress,” a nonprofit social media movement, the Scene reported. The line was supposed to go on sale next week but was pulled from the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Scene reported.
Chelmis and Wen wanted to “make something beautiful out of the rubble,” the Scene reported.
“That morning, we were thinking on a much smaller scale than we should’ve been,” Chelmis said, the Scene reported. “I’m kicking myself for not gathering 10 times as much glass.”
The pair consulted their friend Kanika Moore of Doom Flamingo, a Charleston-based band, to make sure the line would be “perceived the right way,” Moore said, the Scene reported. The name was inspired by “say their names” and “say his/her name” chants frequently heard at protests across the country.
“He was cautious about it and the way it would be viewed. He wanted it to be a positive influence,” Moore added, the Scene reported.
Since facing criticism, the pair has posted a statement and temporarily closed their website. (RELATED: One Trend Is Clear After These Police Killings: Families Begging Rioters To Stop The Violence)
“While our intentions were pure and we consulted with a wide variety of people before launching, it is clear that there are issues with the approach we took,” the website said. “Though we only wanted to honor the victim’s names and retell their story, we see now that using those names was inappropriate and in poor taste.”
If Chelmis and Wen sold every piece in the collection, they would raise around $20,000 for “From Privilege to Progress,” the Scene reported.
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