Berkeley filmmaker turns garage into powerful tribute for Black people killed by police

The two-car garage of Karina Epperlein’s Berkeley home has been transformed into a memorial for black people killed by police.

The mural includes the words “Black Lives Matter” painted at the top, and lists dozens of names. These include George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by police in Louisville, and Philando Castile, who was fatally shot during a traffic stop. 

“What’s important to me is these people who we are remembering come alive for us as real people,” said Epperlein. 

Epperlein grew up in Germany post World War II. She learned about social injustice at a very young age and remembers seeing memorials for victims of the Holocaust throughout her childhood. That’s where she got the idea for this mural. 

“We had to still work on dealing with the history, the Holocaust, and the war and the culpability of every German. So this has made me very sensitive to injustices everywhere,” said Epperlein. “When I came to this country racism just stood out to me immediately.”

The Berkeley artist and filmmaker has been working on this project with two of her friends. They research important dates and information about each person, including birthdays, where they lived, and something important about their lives. 

“Now seems like the right time to make something permanent so people who drive by or walk by can stop and have a moment of silence and remember,” she said.