WASHINGTON, D.C. – A powerful memorial in Washington D.C. honored the more than 210,000 Americans who have lost their lives to COVID-19.
The group COVID Survivors for Change organized the memorial, which featured 20,000 empty chairs on the lawn across from the White House. Each seat represented less than a tenth of those killed by the coronavirus in the U.S.
The founder of the group, Chris Kocher, told CNN that organizers wanted to bring attention to the sheer size of the loss six months into the pandemic and highlight the country’s “lack of acknowledgment.”
The event was held on Sunday, which the group declared a National Day of Remembrance.
During the event, attendees listened to stories of people who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus. Grammy Award-winner and former U.S. Ambassador for Health Dionne Warwick hosted.
“The loss of lives has grown daily, leaving us all directly or indirectly affected by this disease,” Warwick said. “It takes all of us to raise our voices — we know we can’t always rely on the folks in charge to hear us unless we say it loudly and clearly.”
Organizers and speakers hope the event encourages lawmakers to develop a national plan for safety and recovery, CBS News reports.
The event was organized before President Donald Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 himself. He and several others have tested positive after attending the announcement ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.