New ‘Leaves of Remembrance’ mark Broadway with memorials for those who died homeless

The bronze Broadway Dance Steps have been a mostly fun reminder of joy and frolic on Capitol Hill’s main drag. They have now been joined by a more somber reminder of the people who have lived and died on the streets of the neighborhood.

Sunday, All Pilgrims Church hosted a dedication for six new “Leaves of Remembrance,” a Seattle-wide project to mark the city with small, leaf-shaped memorials for people who have passed away while dealing with homelessness.

 

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The Homeless Remembrance Project is paid for by donations. Each leaf includes the name of a person who lived in the area, their year of birth, and the year they died.

Many of the names are not familiar except to loved ones. Some have tragic stories like Zachary Lewis who was murdered and left in an empty lot where Broadway Hill Park is now in 2011.

More than a dozen locations now host the leaves in Seattle. King County has a growing population of homeless people. Last year, the county set a sad mark, recording 169 deaths of people who were homeless at the time of their passing.

The cluster of six new leaves and a seventh with information about the project can be found on the corner of Broadway and Republican in front of All Pilgrims near where the Metro coach drivers park during breaks. CHS found the bronze leaves being joined by a few natural ones as fall sets in. Nearby, the church’s Same Love Garden has taken shape.

Here are the people included in the Capitol Hill cluster dedicated Sunday. You can read more about each person by clicking on their name.

To learn more, visit fallenleaves.org.

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8 thoughts on “New ‘Leaves of Remembrance’ mark Broadway with memorials for those who died homeless

  1. I can’t imagine the bronze stars and their installation was cheap. Seems like the money would have been better spent on, I don’t know, maybe helping the homeless?

    • No. Even under a strict cost-benefit analysis it’s money well spent because it raises public awareness of the fact that being homeless in many cases results in premature death. Many people never make this connection, which this project calls stark attention to — thus encouraging more people to become donors, volunteers and advocates who otherwise wouldn’t have done so.

  2. All paid for by intentional donations. This morning I received a phone call from out of state, from the brother of a person memorialized by a Leaf of Remembrance downtown, thanking me for sending him pictures and the program leaflet from the ceremony honoring his brother, who had lived through a period of homelessness and found a new life in social service work and stable housing for two decades afterwards.

  3. This is very touching. I’m glad for this project and thank you Capitol Hill blog for providing links to read about each person.

    One of the great tragedies of our current homeless crisis is that we get numb to it. We forget that it’s not normal to walk by people who are greatly suffering and do nothing, expect nothing to change.

    I’m glad that several of these folks were housed when they passed.