Call for a Day of Mourning and Lament for US COVID-19 deaths

By agency reporter
May 31, 2020

As the number of people who have died from COVID-19 in the USA reached 100,000, an unprecedented group of over 100 national faith leaders – from Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions, national faith-based organisations, local congregations, and millions of people of faith across the country called for a National Day of Mourning and Lament. Together, they look to federal, state, and local elected officials to observe Monday, 1 June 2020 as National Day of Mourning and Lament, a day marked by moments of silence, lowering of flags, interfaith vigils, ringing of bells, and civic memorials.

This call is being supported by the US Conference of Mayors who represent over 1,400 mayors across the country. Mayors lead on the frontline of the COVID-19 response effort and continue to model critical local leadership amid this difficult time. 

Together, interfaith leaders and mayors across the nation will call people to mourn, lament, and honour the dead, acknowledge the unequal nature of the suffering, pray together for the healing of the nation, and recommit to the difficult work ahead.

"One hundred thousand people, citizens, friends, and family dead is a terrible marker we must not miss or pass by quickly or easily. We must stop. We must weep. We must mourn. We must honour. And we must lament which is to feel and bear great grief and sorrow, and to reflect upon it," said the president and founder of Sojourners, the  Rev Jim Wallis. "To pray for the healing of the nation is to go even deeper than our horrible sickness; we must also see the national brokenness and signs of hope the virus continues  to reveal. Our suffering has been painfully and racially disproportionate, but our healing must be in unison."

“As a nation we can’t afford to be numbed or desensitised by this staggering milestone. Every one of the over 100,000 lives in the U.S. lost to COVID-19 is precious and sacred.  While the need for social distancing has precluded funerals and other traditional forms of mourning, we can and must find ways to grieve and lament together as a nation", said Sojourners executive director, the Rev Adam Taylor. "These tragic deaths include so many heroic frontline and essential workers who risked their lives to heal, protect, and serve others.”

The National Day of Mourning and Lament will follow a weekend of services from Muslim, Jewish and Christian houses of worship – including Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical, African American, Hispanic, Asian American, and Native American – all united in times of lament and mourning for the dead. Remembering will unite across lines of religion and traditions and transcend our politics.  

* Sojourners' ministries grew out of the Sojourners Community, located in Southern Columbia Heights, an inner-city neighbourhood in Washington DC. The community began at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, in the early 1970s when a handful of students began meeting to discuss the relationship between their faith and political issues, particularly the Vietnam War.


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