In response to COVID-19 restrictions making it difficult for people to mourn the pandemic’s victims, Seattle’s First AME Church is joining a nationwide series of candlelight vigils on Monday, Oct. 19.
The “Mourning Into Unity” vigils — to be held at more than 20 sites around the country — are being held outdoors, with participants masked and socially distanced or attending online. The vigils will be led by faith leaders and medical professionals.
In Seattle, the #MourningIntoUnity vigils will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Monday at the First AME Church, 1522 14th Ave. Organizers hope to continue the weekly vigils until early November.
The church, founded in 1886, is the oldest African American church in the state of Washington.
“In 2020, a year of unprecedented loss, COVID has stopped America from mourning together,” read a statement from the organizer of the vigils: Reimagine, a San Francisco-based nonprofit “sparking community-driven festivals and conversations that explore death and celebrate life.”
The vigils, the statement said, “offer a chance for healing.”
Nationwide, more than 215,000 people have died from COVID-19; 2,190 of them were in Washington state.