Early on in the pandemic, Kristin Urquiza, now an advocate for family impacted by Covid, had a premonition for how the pandemic would impact the community where she grew up in Arizona. “When crisis and disaster hit, it hits in communities like Maryvale first, before in the more affluent, typically more white neighborhoods,” she tells Yahoo Life. “We are a predominantly Hispanic community. We're about 75% from a Latin heritage. We're about a third immigrant.”
After her father died of COVID-19 following the reopening of Arizone in June 2020, Urquiza penned an honest obituary calling out politicians for her father's death. “I used the last paragraph to say my dad should not have died by COVID. And like so many others, his death is due to politicians who continue to jeopardize the lives of brown and black folks with their terrible policy decisions, lack of leadership and lack of decisive action to mitigate the virus,” says Urquiza.
Urquiza didn’t think about the honest obituary as a political act, but soon she was getting messages from people with similar stories. This newfound community inspired her to create Marked by Covid, a nonprofit organization dedicated to truth telling, changing policies and empowering those who have lost a loved one during the pandemic.