Over the past weekend, legendary soul singer Dionne Warwick hosted a National Day of Remembrance for those who died from the novel coronavirus disease.
The event, which took place virtually in Washington D.C., on Sunday, Oct. 4, was produced by COVID Survivors for Change, a grassroots, non-partisan organization that connects those affected by the disease with proper resources. Families of those who died from the illness, including health-care workers, faith leaders and many more, joined Warwick in the memorial effort.
“It’s time to stand with all the survivors and Americans who have been devastatingly impacted,” The Grammy Award winner said in a statement to MSN. She added, “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.”
During the Oct. 4 event, 20,000 chairs were left empty on the Ellipse — a 52-acre park located south of the White House — as part of a dramatic statement symbolizing the many lives claimed by the deadly disease. The event included a national moment of silence, musical performances by artists and memorial tributes for loved ones who were being honored.
This isn’t Warwick’s first time using her platform to bring awareness to a global crisis. The former U.S. Ambassador for Health has used her platform to bring attention to the AIDS crisis during the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Her song “That’s What Friends Are For” by Dionne & Friends raised millions of dollars for AIDS research and prevention.
COVID Survivors for Change founder Chris Kocher also released a statement to MSN regarding the event saying, “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.”
According to the CDC, the total number of deaths caused by COVID-19 has surpassed 210,000 as officials begin to prep for a possible second wave as winter and flu season approach. Check out the full virtual event here.