News Release

Marked By COVID Calls for Pandemic Remembrance


KRISTIN URQUIZA; for interviews, reach out to Christine Keeves at 
    Urquiza is a disaster equity advocate and the co-founder of Marked By COVID, a community-led Covid justice movement. Her father, Mark Urquiza, died of Covid in June 2020. 

Marked By COVID has a wide portfolio of commemorative work that the organization is currently championing. Urquiza argues that people bereaved by Covid-19 still need the country to “mark its losses and remember what happened.” The group is currently working on increasing pandemic remembrance, including garnering support for a bill first introduced in 2021 by Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) which would designate the first Monday of March as a national holiday: Covid-19 Victims Memorial Day. 

The organization has also been working on plans for a permanent memorial space. If the memorial included all the names of the dead, as the Vietnam War Memorial does, “it would circle the National Mall at least 50 times.” Since the space would need to accommodate 1.1 million names, Urquiza says the memorial would be hybrid, helping it serve “as a hallmark to the unique experience we had of living online, losing loved ones through FaceTime or Zoom, and [attending] Zoom funerals. We’ve also been working with academics across the country to establish a crowd-sourced library and database to collect every single act of commemoration––big, small, permanent, ephemeral, online, in-person––to provide future researchers these tools and to show elected leaders that there’s an appetite for commemoration.”

Urquiza also emphasized the need for the memorial to be created by bereaved communities, “to define what this looks like as part of the healing process and to ensure that we’re hitting the mark about what the memorial needs to be.”