As the US surpasses 200,000 coronavirus deaths, Dionne Warwick, Grammy Award winner and former US Ambassador for Health, will host the first ‘National COVID-19 Remembrance’ at noon on October 4.
Families of Covid-19 victims, advocates, faith leaders and health care workers will join virtually and in-person in Washington, DC.
“It’s time to stand with all the survivors and Americans who have been devastatingly impacted. It’s time to thank the essential workers and treat this pandemic as it is: an incredible tragedy. And most of all, it’s time to pray for those still suffering and for our Nation to unite and come together to mourn and honor the precious lives lost,” Warwick said.
COVID Survivors for Change, a grassroots, non-partisan organization connecting those affected by Covid-19 with resources, organized a National Day of Remembrance to honor the victims and demand that elected officials do more.
“Behind every statistic and every number is a real person whose life was cut short or changed forever. The National COVID Remembrance will carve out a public space to tell their stories and demand our elected officials honor their deaths by doing what needs to be done to stop the spread of disease,” said Chris Kocher, founder of COVID Survivors for Change.
“There will be 20,000 empty chairs on the Ellipse on October 4. These chairs will be a visually stunning art installation representing a fraction of the heartbreaking and unimaginable loss of 200,000 lives to COVID-19 in six just months,” Warwick said.
Warwick has used her platform to raise public awareness of the AIDS epidemic and went on to serve as a global health ambassador during the administrations of President Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.
Along with the 20,000 empty chairs, there will be a call for a National Moment of Silence, musical performances by artists, speakers and memorial tributes where loved ones will be honored virtually.
Carolyn-Freyer Jones, the creator of #thefridayminute, a 60-second opportunity to honor those affected by the coronavirus every week at noon EST/ 9 a.m. PST, has endorsed this National Day of Remembrance. Freyer-Jones said “#thefridayminute was birthed out of my father’s passing – and my father is one of many.”
“The goal and mission of #thefridayminute has regarding The National Day of Remembrance is to both promote the event and continue to grow the awareness about the people all around us who are being impacted by Covid every single day – there’s the loss of life which is profound, and there’s the loss of understanding that is occurring because of the numbers of people,” said Freyer-Jones.
Kocher said the goal is to come together as a nation and to stop and pause for those impacted by the pandemic. Kocher was in Queens, New York, when the state had one of its biggest spikes in Covid-19. “When the first wave of the pandemic hit in New York City in March, I had friends who had Covid and families that had been impacted,” said Kocher.
Seeing how much the pandemic was affecting people in the nation inspired Kocher. “It was devastating to know how many people have been impacted and that there is so much more we can do to prevent these needless deaths,” said Kocher.
The ‘National COVID-19 Remembrance’ will be streamed online. Kocher assures the event will be safe and follow social distancing guidelines.