When Mark Urquiza died recently from complications due to the coronavirus, his family didn’t hold back their thoughts on who was to blame.
“Mark, like so many others, should not have died from COVID-19. His death is due to the carelessness of the politicians who continue to jeopardize the health of brown bodies through a clear lack of leadership, refusal to acknowledge the severity of this crisis, and inability and unwillingness to give clear and decisive direction on how to minimize risk,” read Mark’s obituary, printed in the Arizona Republic on July 6.
Urquiza died June 30 in a hospital after battling the coronavirus for three weeks. His daughter, Kristin Danielle, shared that he was 65 years old and had no underlying health conditions.
“He became ill three weeks after Arizona's stay-at-home order was lifted, signaling to the public it was safe to open up bars, restaurants and other non-essential services. It was not safe and it is still not safe. My family was robbed,” reads a Facebook message on the MarkedbyCOVID page.
The family started the Facebook page as one way to channel their “sadness and rage into building an awareness campaign so fewer families are forced to endure this.” They started an ofrenda in front of the governor’s office in Phoenix, starting with pictures of Urquiza and messages from the family, and inviting other families in Arizona impacted by coronavirus to add their photos.
Phoenix has become a hotspot for the coronavirus in recent weeks. A statewide lockdown was lifted in mid-May and local ordinances requiring masks were forbidden by the state government until the governor reversed course in late June.