(CNN) — Almost a year after the first known coronavirus death in the United States, activists and community groups are asking officials to honor the memory of more than half a million Americans who have died from COVID-19 by proclaiming a Covid Memorial Day.
More than a hundred events will be held throughout the United States this Monday, March 1, to remember those who died from covid-19, as well as to call a holiday and permanent memorials in their honor.
Marked by Covid, a grassroots movement dedicated to collecting stories about those affected by the virus, and Reimagine, a nonprofit organization that helps communities celebrate life and honor the dead, are leading the way. Other groups, including Rose River Memorial and the Floral Heart ProjectThey also participate in the effort.
The groups will organize individual events and come together for a virtual vigil on the so-called Covid Memorial Day.
“We must respond to this crisis according to its scale,” Kristin Urquiza, co-founder of Marked By Covid, told CNN. “The commemoration and recognition of our losses cannot wait any longer. The recognition of the federal government is essential ”.
Help people process pain
Rose River Memorial, one of the groups that hosts events, is collecting a handmade felt red rose for every American who has died of COVID-19. The rose is the national flower of the United States.
The group said it will erect four rose facilities Monday in California, Texas and Missouri.
When the group has enough roses to represent each life lost, they will combine community projects to create a giant art installation.
“We are on the way, but there is a long, very long way to go. If we were to build the monument today, it would be expanded by three acres (1.21 hectares), which is 1,000 parking spaces or 32 basketball courts, ”founder Marcos Lutyens said in a statement. “To build the national facility next winter, we need more than 22,906 roses made and mailed every month from now until then. These numbers are growing, tragically, by many hundreds of deaths each. A single day.
The Floral Heart Project, another participating group, will deposit more than 100 floral hearts created by volunteers in the United States.
Founder Kristina Libby believes that visual displays will help grieving families process their grief.
“Historically [11 de septiembre, huracán Katrina, Primera y Segunda Guerra Mundial]In moments of trauma, we see flowers, photos and memorial services, ”Libby told CNN in an email. “These visual symbols help people process pain and, more importantly, build community. Strong communities decrease pain. So visual public monuments are actually a useful way to build a community. ‘
Volunteers from the Floral Heart Project will also host community vigils and meditations, where people affected by the virus can share photos and stories of loved ones who have died.
The groups will then collectively conduct a virtual vigil.
A growing movement
In addition to the events, the groups are asking government officials to establish a national holiday and permanent monuments to honor the dead.
Reimagine says on its website that mayors, state legislators, and members of Congress are supporting the effort, and that more than 50 mayors are sponsoring a Resolution by the United States Conference of Mayors to recognize March 1 as Memorial Day. Victims of Covid-19.
Representative Greg Stanton, a Democrat from Arizona, said he will also introduce a House resolution to make the first Monday in March “Covid-19 Victims and Survivors Memorial Day.”
“Commemorating this Memorial Day is an important milestone for all those affected by this pandemic,” Stanton said in a press release. “Long after our nation wears this grim episode, we will have to collectively acknowledge all those we lost and the aftermath of what we experienced.”
Marked by Covid and Reimagine are asking officials to form a covid memorial committee to establish permanent memorials in each state so residents can collectively mourn and remember those who have died.
“The call of the community is clear: our pain must be recognized and respected if we are ever to heal and unite,” said Urquiza. “We need ways to cry, heal, acknowledge, learn, and prevent this from happening again. This must happen immediately and as a united nation.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism