Druid Hills resident hosting second annual COVID-19 awareness eventGigi Stanor checks his cell phone while passing a sign placed by the Clarkston COVID-19 Task Force, in partnership with the City of Clarkston and DeKalb County on July 25, 2020. The task force distributed thousands of masks, hand sanitizer, and educational material to apartment communities in Clarkston to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus. Photo by Dean Hesse.
Atlanta, GA — Last year, Druid Hills resident Tanya Washington lost her father to COVID-19, and she organized an event to honor National COVID-19 Awareness Day. This year, she is hosting the second annual COVID march to remember on Saturday, Aug. 6.
The event will start at 11 a.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 435 Peachtree Street NE in Atlanta. Attendees will be required to wear a face mask.
The Atlanta event will be a gathering and feature speakers, including Washington, members of the Georgia chapter of COVID Survivors for Change, state Sen. Kim Jackson (SD-41), Barbara McLean and Jeronia Blue.
McLean is an intensive care clinical nurse specialist and Blue is a senior registered nurse at Grady Health System. The event will end with the church bells tolled in honor of victims of COVID-19.
There will be marches and gatherings nationwide hosted by COVID Survivors for Change, Yellow Heart Memorial and Faces of COVID Victims, according to an announcement.
Participants aim to take over one million collective steps to remember those who have died from COVID-19, honor the long haulers, and raise awareness about the ongoing needs of COVID-19 survivors.
“We had a great turnout last year and have the opportunity to be even more impactful this year,” Washington said. “It’s an important opportunity to remind Georgians and all Americans about the impact of the pandemic and what more must be done to support the survivors.”
She added that COVID-19 survivors are leading the charge, so no other families have to bury a loved one, and so the country will never be brought to this point of a public health crisis again.
“We understand the costs of inaction – we have lived them,” Washington said. “The advocacy of COVID survivors helped secure the passage of the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion stimulus package that included critical resources for COVID research, prevention, testing, and treatment.”
Washington’s father, despite being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, died from the virus last year. He followed COVID-19 protocols, but an unvaccinated coworker exposed him to the deadly California variant of the virus, Washington previously said.
She has encouraged everyone to get the vaccine.
“My dad brought joy and love to everyone. He was an incredible storyteller, always had a joke and made everyone he met feel special,” Washington previously said. “In the days after his death, I pledged to honor my father’s life by educating people and sharing his story in hopes that others never experience my heartbreak.”
Washington said her father’s story illustrates why it’s important that everyone take the COVID-19 vaccine.
“My dad was exposed by an unvaccinated/unmasked woman in his office,” she said. “Because she wasn’t vaccinated, she had a very high viral load in her system and spread a variant to my elderly father. This is exactly why we need to encourage everyone to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated will protect yourself and others around you. The COVID-19 vaccination is a safe way to help build protection, so I beg people to please think of others. Please protect the elderly and vulnerable population. I promise, no one wants to see their loved one die of COVID-19. Watching my dad suffer this way has changed my life forever.”
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