Our grief must be recognized and respected if we are ever to heal and unite. As the nation reached one full year of living with—or dying from—COVID, we surpassed the grim benchmark of half a million people lost to COVID. Tens of millions of people #MarkedByCOVID are simultaneously fighting a pandemic and managing a groundswell of individual and collective grief.
That’s why people marked by COVID, along with mayors, state legislators, and Members of Congress took action on March 1, 2021 as part of a coordinated call for an annual COVID-19 Memorial Day in remembrance of those we’ve lost and will lose as a result of this preventable disaster.
Mark the date: Creating a public memory: More than 120 grassroots COVID Memorial Day events are being planned by Activists across the country on March 1, 2021 in solidarity with all #MarkedByCOVID and to call for a national holiday and permanent memorials. Many are happening in collaboration with artists from Floral Heart Project, Rose River Memorial, and Faces of COVID Victims and will culminate in a virtual COVID Memorial Day Vigil co-hosted by Marked By COVID + Reimagine.
State legislators and other public officials are also marking the date: Representative Greg Stanton (D-AZ 9th) introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives expressing support for the designation of the first Monday in March to be COVID-19 Victims and Survivors Memorial Day. State legislators in CA, AZ, MI, CO and other public officials have also filed COVID Memorial Day resolutions.
Plus, 152 mayors in 36 states took action: 113 mayors across 24 states passed local ordinances in their cities to proclaim the first Monday in March COVID Memorial Day. And more than 65 mayors from both sides of the aisle in over 30 states sponsored a U.S. Conference of Mayors Resolution to recognize the first Monday of March as COVID-19 Memorial Day.
Memorialization and recognition cannot wait any longer. The call from the community is clear: We need ways to publicly grieve, heal, recognize, learn, and prevent this from ever happening again. This must happen immediately and as one united nation.