Say Their Names. It’s More Than a Hashtag.

Written by Calvonia Radford, 6.08.2020

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22:1

What’s your name?

I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. Can you repeat it a little louder for those in the back?

One more time, but this time say your name with boldness, with confidence as if your life depended on it.

My name is Calvonia Louise Vaught Radford.

I’m named after my parents and my paternal grandparents. My grandfather was named Calvin and he passed that name down to my father. My grandmother and my mother’s middle names were Louise. Thus, my name, Calvonia Louise.

My name was carefully chosen to represent two branches higher than me on our family tree. They ensured that even after their death, when my name was called, they would be remembered.

The last few weeks have been filled with devastating news, leading to global unrest.

Our poor world was already reeling and rocking in disbelief as an unprecedented number of people became sick and many died of an invisible enemy called, COVID19.

Suddenly, when we thought it couldn’t get any worse than being healthy at home, missing our family members, co-workers and fellow congregants, all hell broke loose.

The death of George Floyd, on May 25th catapulted our nation into a perfect storm. Our nation and ultimately our world took note of racial equality and systemic atrocities that though not new, were displayed in 3D.

Last Friday my husband and I were driving past our courthouse where a diverse crowd was gathered, facing the oncoming traffic. They were yelling, “No justice, No peace” as well as other phrases familiar to current protests.

I had passed there each day while walking and saw a few people standing there holding signs and making a visual statement of disapproval regarding current events. Only one of those people was black. I was touched but not moved to action. I took a video, snapped a few pictures and continued on my walk.

Yet, on Friday, those voices called out to me and their confident stance beckoned me to join. So I did. I walked up to the courtyard, swapping a #BlackLivesMatters sign with my daughter who was leaving the site and I participated.

It was nice to be counted in the number as we stood in solidarity.

Various ethnicities and colors. Different religious backgrounds and economical statuses, but one in thought as it relates to humanity and the right to life regardless of skin color.

The chants were mainly led by high school students that didn’t look like me. There was a call and response.

They said, “No Justice”, and we responded  “No Peace”.

At one point, a young lady cried out emotionally with tear filled eyes, “Say His Name!”, “George Floyd!”. “Say Her Name!”, “Brionna Taylor!”.

When I heard their names, a sadness that cannot be described with mere words welled up in me and I wept.

Their names represented much more than a movement.

Someone labored over those names. Reading names off a list on the internet. Pondering the names of family members past and present. Drawing a line through some and highlighting others.

I remember when we chose the names of our children. We were diligent to search for names with meaning. We wanted their names to determine the trajectory of their lives.

Mario – Warrior

Casondra – A helper to mankind

Christian –  A follower of Christ

I’m not sure if the parents of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, David Mcatee, Dominique Clayton, Eric Reason, Atatiana Jefferson, Botham Jean, Philando Castile, Bettie Jones, Walter Scott, Natasha McKenna, Tamir Rice, Tanisha Anderson, Michelle Cusseaux, Ezell Ford, Eric Garner or Emmett Till knew the meaning of their children’s names, but their names are powerful.

Their blood stained names cry out to us today. Crying out for change.

Listen to the comforting words of God in Isaiah 43:1,  as he says,

“Now this is what the LORD says, the one who created you, Jacob, and the one who formed you, Jsrael. Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine.”

In the Eastern culture, calling someone by name was a sign of individual tenderness, making them distinct, calling out of them the purpose on their lives.

Each of us were born with a plan and purpose for our lives. God calls it out in us. He knows our names.

Our names are powerful. They must not be dismissed. We must strive to live up to the names, God calls us. He calls us redeemed! He calls us to a purpose, even if that purpose can only be fulfilled through death.

Let us pray:

Father, our hearts are heavy. Families are grieving. The citizens of our country are confused, disgusted and angry. Night after night, the names of the fallen are spoken into the air. You know their names. Don’t let their deaths be in vain. Lord let their names go down in history as change agents pushing us forward to make a difference.  In Jesus name, Amen!

Thoughts to ponder:

What is the meaning of your name?  If you don’t know, ask a family member if they know the meaning or look it up online. Do you value the names of those who look differently than you? Would you be willing to call their names?

If this blog post has blessed you, impacted you, convicted you or encouraged you, please like, comment and share before you leave. God bless you!

Author: realtalk859

Hi, I'm Calvonia. I'm so glad you stopped by. I'm a small town girl with old school ways. So come on in, share of cup of hot tea and a real conversation. I've shared my life with my husband, lover and friend, Moses for most of my adult life. Our union has been blessed with three children a couple of in-loves and a few grandchildren. We are so blessed. I love God more than words can articulate and sharing his word and his love with my sisters literally makes me smile. Enough about me, let's talk about Jesus!

10 thoughts on “Say Their Names. It’s More Than a Hashtag.”

  1. OK, well, here’s a name.
    Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, murdered in a planned ambush on June 6, 2020.
    He left a pregnant wife, and a child.
    Who will march for him, and who will demand justice for his family?
    He was killed for the uniform he wore, and because he took an oath to protect and serve.
    Does anyone even care? Or is he just the wrong cause?


    1. My heart hurts for his family. This should never have happened. Everyday an officer of the law reports for duty the are at risk. The very thing they feel called to do, unfortunately can bring their demise. I have good friends and family members who wear the blue uniform. We worry about them and pray God’s protection over them. I can’t speak for anyone but myself Andrew. I care. I will say his name. Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller. May he rest in peace and may God bring comfort and peace to his family. Thank you for sharing this tragic information.


  2. Good afternoon, Calvonia. This is a powerful post. Yes, God knows each and every name, even the babies who do not see the light of day. I thank you for these Godly reminders. The grief is collecting, isn’t it? Some days my heart is so heavy. I thank Jesus for being Our Comfort and strength when the world is unraveling in violence and hate. Love in Christ, Julie

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, there is such power in saying the names. I was able to participate in a Black Lives Matter protest in my city a week ago. Saying George Floyd’s name again and again seared it into my consciousness that this man should still be here saying his own name, but he’s not. So we will keep his memory alive as part of the great awakening in our country (hopefully one that sticks this time!) by saying his name and working for change.
    Thanks for sharing the history of your own name as well. Calvonia Louise Vaught Radford is beautiful. I don’t have any real history behind my name “Lisa” – my mom just liked it. ha. But it’s been how I’ve identified myself my whole life so I’m attached to it. 🙂


    1. I had a similar reaction to saying their names Lisa. The personhood of the name makes it real. Thanks for joining the conversation. By the way, I love the name Lisa.


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