‘We Remember’: Memorial for all local lives lost during the COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A memorial was held Sunday afternoon at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, honoring all local lives that were lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dozens gathered remembering loved ones lost to COVID-19, gun violence or any other circumstance.

Local faith leaders say they’ve been waiting for the perfect time to host a memorial similar to this one. It’s about all giving people a place to grieve, especially those who couldn’t have a full funeral or celebration of life during the worst of the pandemic.

Several faith leaders read off the names of those passed for remembrance.

“This brings somewhat closure,” Reverend Marilyn Cunningham said. She lost her mother at 107-years-old last fall.

“I even found her scarf and I brought it. I would not be who I am today if it wasn’t for that lady,” Cunningham said.

Some attended the memorial to simply offer support and solidarity.

“A lot of people have died alone, you know physically either in hospitals or at homes,” Bishop Prince Singh, Episcopal Diocese of Rochester said.

One Rochester family is grieving the loss of a family member who died from COVID-19 complications last month. 74-year-old Emma J Miller, was only a week away from her vaccine appointment.

“Keeping her memory alive, thinking about the funny things she used to say,” her oldest daughter Brenda Miller said. “How she would want her family to be together and love one another.”

Several of those who joined in solidarity were grieving about things unrelated to death.

“Loss of jobs, housing, loss of the familiar that’s why we came together,” Pastor Richard Myers said.

No matter your circumstances, the memorial was a safe space for all. A sacred space, a community coming together as one.

The event was organized by Greater Rochester Community of Churches. 420 names were read in total over the course of an hour. Thankfully, no rain got in the way of the event.

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