Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide) and her Council colleagues passed a proclamation honoring COVID Memorial Day, marking the 500,000-plus people nationwide lost to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, and remembering the local community members who passed away from, or battled and suffered from, COVID-19.
The Council recognized this grim milestone with a proclamation, and made space during today’s Council meeting to honor the families healing from the impact of losing their loved ones to the pandemic.
“The magnitude of this milestone is staggering. But we must remember that every person lost or who suffered from COVID-19 is not just a number. They are real people with families and loved ones who were impacted. One of the best ways we can honor those who have lost someone is by ensuring our most vulnerable communities are quickly vaccinated, so our low-income and BIPOC communities don’t have to lose another loved one while on the path to herd immunity,” Mosqueda said.
“The battle against Covid in the United States started here in our region. Though we have lost too many to this pandemic, the sustained and dedicated efforts to practice public health measures has resulted in our being hit less hard than other parts of the country. We must remember the lives lost and recognize the friends and family members who mourn them,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle and South Park).
Linda and Alexander Oliver, who lost their daughter, Marian Jude Oliver, to COVID-19 accepted the proclamation.
“My daughter, Marian Jude Oliver, or Mickey to those closest to her, was my first child and my introduction to motherhood. She was the caretaker of the family. Even as a child, Mickey would check on all the grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Her magnetic personality made everyone feel special and appreciated. Mickey cared for her three daughters with the same intensity, and frankly anyone’s children. She was known to give anyone a place to stay and give away her own belongings to someone in need. One of my fondest memories is how Mickey showed care to a grade school friend. Mickey’s friend was not able to go to school because her mother could not afford shoes and clothing. She pleaded with her father and I to purchase her friend clothes. Also, she made sure that we washed her friend’s family clothes and fed them on days when they had little to eat,” wrote Linda Oliver.
Oliver continued: “For all that she gave in life, I mourn the most that I could not be there with her during her final moments. I was there when she took her first breath and I watched her take her final breath over Zoom. To not be able to hold my daughter’s hand during her greatest time of need will follow me for the rest of my life. I would not wish this horrific experience on anyone. I encourage everyone to wash their hands, wear a mask, and stay socially distant. It is not worth gambling with your life or your loved one’s life.”
“When we left City Hall a year ago, we all thought we’d be home for a couple weeks, then back to work. We had no idea that a year later we’d still be working from home, nor could we have anticipated that we would experience a pandemic spiraling out of control. We have all been touched by the devastation that COVID-19 has brought. Too many of us have lost loved ones – sisters, daughters, uncles, grandparents. We know that communities of color must have priority in vaccine distribution. This pandemic is not over,” said Councilmember Tammy J. Morales (District 2, South Seattle and the C/ID).
Morales continued: “While we all wait to get vaccinated, the best way we can honor those who we’ve lost is to keep following the protocols to keep our community and ourselves safe – wash hands, wear two masks, don’t gather with people you don’t live with. Finally I want to say to the Oliver family receiving the proclamation – I want to offer again my heartfelt condolences. The loss of a family member as wonderful as Mickey is never easy. May her memory be a blessing.”
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 1,300 individuals in King County have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Washington is expected to surpass 5,000 COVID-19 deaths this week, almost a year after the first COVID-19 death was experienced in America, making Washington state ground zero for the start of the pandemic in the U.S.
The proclamation draws attention to the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on low-income communities and BIPOC communities, as well as those working on the frontlines and essential workers.
The Council also recognized those who have survived COVID-19 but are still feeling physical side effects, or dealing with the emotional and financial impacts of battling the disease.
The proclamation concludes, “Each life lost to COVID-19 mattered and leaves a hole in the hearts of loved ones, family members and the surrounding community.”
The City of Seattle joins dozens of other U.S. cities, Mayors and Congressional Representatives supporting COVID Memorial Day, organized by Marked By COVID.