San Jose lights up landmarks to remember COVID-19 victims
The San Jose Civic, one of the city’s historic theaters, lit up to honor COVID-19 victims. Photo by Vicente Vera.


    Five of San Jose’s most recognizable landmarks lit up in a warm amber light Tuesday night to honor the lives lost to COVID-19.

    The remembrance was part of a national movement as part of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

    The sites included San Jose City Hall, Earthquakes Stadium, SAP Center, the historic Civic theater and the San Jose McEnery Convention Center.

    Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, home to the San Francisco 49ers, also turned its lights gold to mourn the victims.

    The memorial at San Jose City Hall was sponsored by Mayor Sam Liccardo and Councilmember Sylvia Arenas.

    Arenas, who recently recovered from COVID-19, said the lives lost serve as a sobering reminder of the disease’s disproportionate roll on underserved communities.

    “Simply put, we have lost too many because of inequalities in our health care system, economy, housing, and government policies,” Arenas said. “We must deepen our effort to fight this disease, but also the underlying disease of systemic racism. We owe this to those who we have lost.”

    San Jose resident Daryush K-Mobarakeh was wandering near San Jose City Hall, taking pictures of the lights Tuesday night.

    “My wife’s family in Southern Ecuador has been affected by COVID-19,” he told San José Spotlight. “One of her cousins, he was a doctor and he died of COVID-19 because there was not enough PPE over there. And if you’re in contact with patients who have the virus, there’s a good chance you’re going to get it.”

    K-Mobarakeh said another member of his family also fell ill to COVID-19.

    “It’s good the city’s doing this,” he added. There’s a lot of suffering now going on and I’ve been in health care in the past for many, many years. I know a lot of what’s happening so I’ve been taking a lot of precautions. Hopefully we can overcome this so we’ll get back to normal as soon as possible.”

    City officials also held a moment of silence before the lights went on. The remembrance comes as the U.S. reached a grim new milestone: More than 400,000 deaths since the first life lost nearly a year ago which was identified as San Jose resident Patricia Dowd on Feb. 6, 2020.

    As of Jan. 19, Santa Clara County recorded 94,366 cases and 1,109 deaths.

    “In our shared suffering, we can summon our common resolve to endure and overcome the difficult challenges that still await us in this pandemic,” Liccardo said. “Let us remember, and honor those we love, with this memorial.”

    Contact Vicente Vera at [email protected] or follow him @vicentejvera on Twitter.

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