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University of Arizona ceremonies mark 2nd anniversary of pandemic

University of Arizona ceremonies mark 2nd anniversary of pandemic
Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 6:16 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The University of Arizona is holding events to mark a deadly two years statewide. They’re calling it a Day of Memory, Healing and Hope.

2,800 white flags are to be placed on campus, one for every 10 Arizonans who died from COVID-19.

University President Dr. Robert Robbins is kicking off the first event at 9 a.m., speaking on the tragedy but also some of the positive changes than came from the pandemic.

Denise TrimbleSmith, project director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion said the event symbolizes where the university stands after being forced to implement virtual learning two years ago.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for the entire community, whether you’re faculty, students or staff. We want to mark this time as a day of memory, healing and hope,” TrimbleSmith said. “A lot of times we like to think of all the things COVID has taken from us, and that is absolutely true. However, I think a lot of folks have found some resiliency and have tapped into things that they never knew they had.”

Provost Liesl Folks will speak at the afternoon ceremony at 1 o’clock.

Each of the events is being put on by the university’s Religious Counsel and will include music, reflections, stories and refreshments.

TrimbleSmith said members from different religious backgrounds will be on stage to represent the community coming together during tough times, no matter religious or political beliefs.

“When folks pass away from something like a pandemic disease, COVID-19, you don’t pass away as a Republican, Democrat, or Black or white. When it comes time for that love for those who you left behind, none of that matters,” TrimbleSmith said. “This is an opportunity for us to come together, no matter who you are, and say we can care for each other and be together, especially for a time like this.”

Throughout the day, students, staff and community members are invited to campus to come share messages of hope or tributes to loved ones who died because of COVID-19.

Sharpies will be available at UA mall all day, so everyone can write messages on the white flags.

TrimbleSmith said campus leaders want the day to symbolize what it really means to bear down.

“Everyone is welcome. We know not everyone agrees, but we hope everyone can come together, especially in situations like this,” TrimbleSmith said.

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