PHILADELPHIA, February 26, 2021 – On Monday, March 1, 2020, the City of Philadelphia will join in a national day of observance and reflection as City Council designates the date, COVID-19 Remembrance Day.
The resolution, which was introduced this week by Councilmember Derek Green (At-Large), honors the more than 2.5 million souls worldwide and the 500,000 American lives lost to COVID-19 over the last year – over 3,000 fatalities now in Philadelphia alone – but also recognizes the survivors of this pandemic and the fight many of them still face with respect to enduring existing symptoms or “long-hauler” effects present months after their initial positive diagnosis.
In addition, this bill commemorates the sacrifices and innovation of the brave essential workers, state and local health departments and public servants who throughout this global public health crisis, have jeopardized their own wellbeing and time away from their loved ones during stay-at-home orders, to continue to do what is necessary to see us through this unimaginably challenging time.
While COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on every aspect of our lives, stripping away most semblances of normality – valuable time with loved ones stolen away due to social distancing, physical classrooms giving way to virtual ones to help mitigate viral spread, saying final goodbyes via phone or on video chat – the disproportionate toll it has taken on low-income communities and communities of color only adds to the pain inflicted on countless families, simultaneously laying bare the historical inequities surrounding quality of life that many Black and Brown people have lived with for decades.
“The gravity of this unprecedented public health crisis weighs heavily on me in so many ways, on so many levels,” said Councilmember Green. “I never would have been able to imagine being forced to stay away from my parents, both of whom are in their 80’s, or close friends or family for this length of time. Yet, there are so many families who have been torn apart by coronavirus and are grieving multiple losses in some cases. This resolution is meant to act as a sort of proverbial eternal flame; to shine a light on their lives and to always be a constant reminder of a very dark period in our history.”