Domb, Blais urge adoption of COVID-19 Remembrance Day



State House News Service
Monday, November 22, 2021

The first Monday of each March would be set aside under legislation considered Wednesday as COVID-19 Remembrance Day in Massachusetts to honor those who have died of the disease, everyone who is battling the coronavirus or its long-term effects, and the essential workers on the front lines of the state’s response to the pandemic.

State Reps. Natalie Blais, D-Sunderland, and Mindy Domb, D-Amherst, filed a resolution (H 4224) that would require the governor to annually proclaim the first Monday in March as a day to acknowledge the loss of life along with the efforts to treat the sick and protect the public from a new and evolving virus. They recently asked the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight to give its stamp of approval to the idea.

“As of yesterday, Massachusetts now has 18,719 individuals who have passed away as a result of this virus and another 808,000 people who have reported to be infected with it. We haven’t fully come to grips with that. But we also haven’t fully come to grips with our gratitude,” Domb said.

“The remembrance day isn’t only a memorialization, it’s also sort of an opportunity to express gratitude. It gives the commonwealth an opportunity to recognize our loss,” Domb said. “It also gives us an opportunity to share that grief in ways that maybe we haven’t been able to and it also, I think just as importantly to tell you the truth, gives us an opportunity to acknowledge the people who helped us get through this time.” 

Blais said a constituent whose mother died of COVID-19 brought the idea of an official day of remembrance to her office and said the official designation “provides the space for our constituents to grieve, to heal and to express gratitude for those who have cared for us.”

Domb added that her constituents have repeatedly reminded her to keep in mind that there are people behind the statistics and that their deaths mean the loss of community members, family members and friends.

“In some ways, appreciating, recognizing and sharing that personal and community loss from the virus gets lost. It’s overseen because we’re really sort of in the busyness of trying to survive,” Domb told the state administration committee. “And as a commonwealth I have to say — Mr. Chair, I hope you’ll sort of allow me this indulgence — I don’t really feel like we fully grieved as a commonwealth or as a community because we haven’t been able to. We have had to get through this.”