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NYC announces an official day of remembrance for COVID victims

The March date marks the first death from the virus recorded in NYC

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

By the end of 2020, New York City lost over 25,000 residents to COVID-19—a devastating blow that has been felt by everyone.

In his New Year's Eve briefing, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that March 14, 2021—the one year anniversary of the first virus-related deathwould be an official day of remembrance for COVID-19 victims.

"We need to recognize 25,000 of our fellow New Yorkers gone—that's something we have to always mark going forward," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. "We got to remember them by one, being there for their families, by two, honoring those who did so much to try to save them, and three, by working to make this city better all the time in their memory."

"We remember also the painful lessons we learned, but it’s a time to rededicate ourselves to making a difference and changing things," he added. "A day to look back, but it will always also be a day to look forward and say, how can we do better so we never lose people again and we have a city that is there for everyone going forward."

The official day is the latest way New Yorkers are hoping to remember those we lost.

City Council Member Mark Levine recently introduced a bill that would create a task force to develop a way to honor the hundreds of COVID-19 victims buried on Hart Island.

"Hundreds of victims of Covid are buried without anything marking their names, without—until now—the opportunity for any form of ceremony at the burial sites, and it’s a place that largely exists outside of the public consciousness of most New Yorkers,” Levine told the Wall Street Journal.

Additionally, Congress Member Adriano Espaillat introduced a bill that would create a national COVID-19 memorial in the Bronx.

Museums around the city, like the Museum of the City of New York and the New-York Historical Society have also done their own exhibits to mark 2020, remember those we lost and explore the way New Yorkers coped and got through the first six or so months of the pandemic.

"New York Responds: The First Six Months" is MCNY's extension of the outdoor photography installation that opened this summer and features selections that were made by a community jury, reflecting the changes and challenges of life in New York City from March through August 2020 using photographs, objects, videos, and works of art that document the impacts of Covid-19 and activism in 2020.

Artist Kristina Libby (@lightvslight) also honored essential workers and victims with big floral hearts last year.

The City, Columbia Journalism School and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY have also been recognizing the victims through an exhaustive online memorial with their names, photographs, stories and obituaries.

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