There is no wrong place in Boston for an opioid epidemic memorial. Like so many others, I have a personal map of experiences and memories that call out to be marked: places I’ve seen people overdosing, every needle or needle cap I’ve seen on a sidewalk, Ringer Park, the intersection of Harvard Ave and Commonwealth Ave, hospitals and pharmacies where I receive painkiller prescriptions, Mass Ave through Harvard Square, Norfolk St off of Central Square, my front porch, Essex St near the Boylston T stop, places I’ve had conversations with friends (every one of whom knows someone who has had or has survived an overdose). Every street, every park, every corner in our city deserves its own memorial. I’ll be placing mine, with a list of names on the back, in Ringer Park (Allston).
Our memorials are designed to be both temporary and lasting. Made from biodegradable seed paper implanted with poppy seeds, the placards will be visible through the rest of the summer and fall. Over the winter, the cards will disintegrate and the poppy seeds will begin to germinate. Next spring, red corn poppies will bloom across Boston. A plant that can grow in the most difficult conditions, that reseeds and spreads itself readily and has been used as a visual memorial for decades, these poppies will be a bright, beautiful reminder of everyone we’ve lost and everyone who continues to survive, how we are everywhere.
As we grieve multiple tragedies, from the opioid epidemic to the COVID-19 pandemic to the violent effects of systemic racism, our Opioid Epidemic Memorial can serve as a reminder that no matter how difficult the current situation is, we have always been surviving through difficult times.
To participate in the project, please click here.
To learn more about the ongoing opioid epidemic, please click here.
To find addiction recovery resources, please click here.
If you have questions about this project, please feel free to contact us:
firstname.lastname@example.org / (857) 228-5219
This project is supported by a Transformative Public Art grant from the City of Boston Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture.