Angela Kender is a Missouri native who has lived in St. Louis, MO for over a decade. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Missouri State University and a master’s degree in Human Resources Management from Lindenwood University. She currently works as the Manager of Business Solutions & Implementations for a large payment management and integrated information technology company. In her previous career, Angela worked as a social worker with the homeless population, specifically single parents who were dually diagnosed as well as homeless veterans.
Angela joined Marked By COVID shortly after her mother passed away on June 6, 2020. Her mother, Dr. Gaye Griffin-Snyder, was an adjunct professor at Missouri State University and a clinical psychologist who worked tirelessly to help those who sought out her counseling improve their lives. Dr. Griffin-Snyder contracted COVID-19 at her nursing home where she lived due to complications from multiple sclerosis. Dr. Griffin-Snyder instilled in Angela a passion for helping those in need by routinely taking her daughter to volunteer at homeless shelters and soup kitchens in her youth and by sharing stories of her work in the 1960’s for the civil rights movement. This same passion has led Angela to the state capitol in Missouri, with photos and stories of Missourians who lost their lives to COVID, to implore state politicians to pass common-sense legislation to prevent further unnecessary deaths. Her fight continues on as Missouri’s governor, Mike Parson, has refused to enact a statewide mask mandate even after he revealed that both he and his wife had tested positive for COVID-19.
Fiana Garza Tulip
A Texas native born in Brownsville and based in Brooklyn, New York, Fiana Garza Tulip received degrees from The University of Texas and Parsons School of Design. She is communications and PR professional with experience representing a range of companies including Teach For America, American Heart Association, AstraZeneca, Unilever, Microsoft, IBM, Nokia, and Kodak. A trip to Barcelona reignited her interest in fashion so, after studying at Parsons, she held leadership roles for several high-profile luxury brands before taking time off to pursue passions and start a family.
Fiana joined Marked By COVID within days of her mother’s passing on July 4th. Fiana’s mother, Isabelle Papadimitriou, was a Hispanic respiratory therapist in Dallas who spent her life helping others breathe. Her life was, unfortunately, viewed as collateral damage in the race to reopen the economy. Because of this, Fiana has committed her energy toward ensuring the country takes COVID seriously, urging everyone to wear a mask in unity (#MaskOnForMyMom), holding leadership accountable for their COVID response, and campaigning to elect federal and state officials who will prioritize human life above politics and the stock market. She credits her resilience to her mother, who taught her at a young age a chant that has been a lifelong mantra for both women: “Fight, fight, fight for what you know is right.”
Outside of this important work, Fiana spends her time trying to get her 1-yr old daughter Lua to take naps and squeezing in runs around Prospect Park when her daughter grants her permission to do so.
Tara Swanigan was raised in Glendale, AZ and has been active in volunteering in her local community since her teen years. Tara attended Xavier College Preparatory and holds a Bachelor’s in Business Management and Marketing from Arizona State University.
Tara has worked for a boutique financial services firm in downtown Phoenix for over 15 years. In her role as Director of Marketing and Operations Manager for the firm, which focuses on community development in low-income areas nationally, Tara’s love of bettering our communities has evolved. Being able to connect directly with community members, hear their real needs first hand, and see direct positive impacts through targeted financial investments is Tara’s true passion.
In 2015, Tara formed ShineVibe Phx, a collective of professionals in Phoenix, dedicated to supporting small businesses and local non-profits by hosting pro-bono events and working with small businesses to both elevate their marketing strategies, as well as giving back to their communities.
Tara is a registered yoga teacher and adores being able to help others breathe, relax and decompress.
Tara joined Marked By COVID shortly after her father lost his battle to COVID-19 on August 7th. Her father, Charles Krebbs, was extremely careful during the pandemic and frequently expressed his worry to her that others would get sick. Tara’s dad often mentioned that people in Glendale refused to wear masks after Governor Ducey did not enact a state mandate. Charles was a family man, he loved gardening, jazz music, reading and cooking. And above all, he loved Tara. He was greatly loved and is greatly missed. Tara is thankful to join Marked By COVID in their movement to speak up and advocate to keep our communities healthy and safe.
Karlee Greer became a Covid activist after losing her father to the Coronavirus in April of 2020, one of the first Covid deaths in the Dallas area. After being released from the hospital too soon, he passed away in her home four days later.
She’s a Texan—born and raised—and graduated from The University of North Texas in 2006. After college, she worked in the legal field before pursuing a decade-long career as a professional photographer.
Karlee has been an active member of Marked By COVID since July of 2020. She also created SixFeetConnected.com, an e-commerce business that sells COVID-related shirts, masks, and cards. All profits from Six Feet Connected go to Marked By COVID to support their relief and awareness efforts.
Outside of her work with Marked by COVID and Six Feet Connected, Karlee and her husband have the fortune of raising their six year old daughter and 10 year old son. She currently resides in Lindale, Texas.
Kaitlyn Urenda Culpepper
Kaitlyn is the daughter of Genevieve Martinez BS R.N., who tragically & senselessly lost her life to COVID-19 on July 22, 2020. She watched as her mother, a RN, fought for her life, and died without dignity, as Kaitlyn watched from the other side of the window. Kaitlyn joined Marked By COVID after her fellow sister-in-grief, Fianna Tulip, reached out to share condolences. Kaitlyn is the daughter of El Paso, Texas, and currently resides in Dallas, Texas with her husband, and their 12-year-old daughter.
Kaitlyn spends her days advocating for victims of COVID-19 in Texas, demanding accountability and strategic response from her local & state government.
Kaitlyn is majoring in Corporate Communication at The University of Texas at El Paso and spent the last seven years of her career in Sales, Branding & Communications. Outside of her Marked By COVID work, she spends her time on Title IX reform, & advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault. She is also a high school swim coach, and yoga certified instructor.
Her outreach has no bounds, and she will not rest until justice for all our loved ones has been served. You can find some of her latest work here, and as always her voice is better together, as she stands alongside her sisters-in-grief.
Rosemary Rangel Gutierrez
A Texas native born in Brownsville and based in San Antonio, Rosemary Gutierrez received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio. She joined Marked By COVID within days of her father’s passing.
Rose’s father valiantly fought COVID19 for almost a month. Throughout his journey, Rosemary learned of the lack of testing resources in the Rio Grande Valley. Her parents let her know that people were sleeping over at testing sites. When their condition worsened, Rose learned about the overwhelmed hospitals when they couldn’t get an ambulance for her father. When he was finally in the hospital nurses were seldom available for updates; Rose learned how tirelessly the nursing staff worked around the clock to save lives. Finally, when her dad passed away, she learned the hospital morgue was full because they could no longer keep her father’s body. Rose set up a Zoom funeral for her father, because the funeral home did not have capability to livestream her father’s funeral, and fulfilled his last wish of being buried at sea. There is not a day that goes by that she doesn’t think about him. Rose’s father was her greatest role model. There was nothing he couldn’t fix, or a person he wouldn’t lend a helping hand to. It is with that same desire to help that Rosemary is committed to uniting the struggling and mourning community of the Rio Grande Valley to commemorate loved ones lost to COVID, and to ensuring priority is placed to areas severely affected by COVID, like the RGV, when determining how to state funding is allocated.
Rosemary believes state leadership (Greg Abbott, John Cornyn & Ted Cruz) failed in assessing the situation logically with an approach focused on saving lives. Border towns have always been vulnerable, and so have the people in their communities. There should have never been a shortage of free testing, an overwhelmed medical community, and funeral homes. Bodies should have never been left to rot outside of hospitals. State leadership’s incompetence is to blame. Their inability to see beyond their own self-serving needs left people to die. Logic and science need to return to Texas’ leaders. Where is their empathy?
Rosemary strongly believes the medical community should be well supported for lives to be saved. As a mechanical engineer, Rose knows indoor air quality is imperative to mitigate the spread of the COVID, and believes that educating the officials about indoor air quality will help them make better judgments in reference to opening schools. Since every room can vary in ventilation and indoor air quality, Rose strongly recommends the use of masks and shields should be considered for use indoors. Rosemary will continue to fight to ensure leaders are focused on saving lives.