One of the cruelest aspects of COVID-19 is that its victims often die alone. This fact not only dramatically affects those lost to the virus, who frequently pass away by themselves in a hospital amid relative strangers, but also the emotional health of the loved ones they leave behind. The highly contagious nature of the virus has made the traditional rituals surrounding death nearly impossible. There is no bedside vigil; no proper funeral; no grieving periods that involve the tender touch of family and friends.
While we can never erase these painful experiences or replace those lost, taking the time to properly memorialize victims matters – not only to the families directly affected, who may pass the trauma they inflicted down for generations, but also to society as a whole. Much like a conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic has woven fear, mistrust and uncertainty into everyday life in ways that have made us fundamentally question our leaders, our individual rights, and our collective worth. This webinar will rely on the time-tested methodologies of Sites of Conscience across the world, offering strategies and examples of effective memorials and memory initiatives that honor loss in times of crisis.
This session will be moderated by Ashley Nelson, Communications Director at the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. Panelists for this webinar include Melinda Hunt, Founder of the The Hart Island Project located in the Bronx, New York.