Written by Kim Furlow, communications manager for the Institute for Public Health
The Institute for Public Health is helping support the Requiem of Light Memorial event for those in St. Louis who lost their lives to COVID-19. The event will take place Oct. 2 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Art Hill in Forest Park and was spearheaded by Institute Faculty Scholar and WashU Director of Medical Humanities, Rebecca Messbarger, PhD.
According to the event news release, the evening will feature music by a diverse group of acclaimed local artists, words of healing by interfaith leaders and testimonials from community members. Messbarger says, “Public grief rituals or memorials are an ancient and near-universal response to death that proclaim the loss of life in order to help individuals and communities heal. For many of the recently deceased and grieving in our community, their stories remain untold, the agony of their loss unrelieved. History reminds us that silence is another affliction of deadly contagion.”
The memorial will feature musical tributes by St. Louis favorite, Denise Thimes and others. Among the speakers are Mayor of the City of St. Louis, Tishaura Jones and leader s from the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, the United Church of Christ, the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis and OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates. KSDK-TV anchor, Rene Knott, will be master of ceremonies.
The Grand Basin in Forest Park will be lit with 3,000 lanterns that, according to organizers, are inspired by East Asian paper lantern festivals commemorating the dead, and meant to evoke the spirits of those lost.
The event, which is free and open to all, is supported by the Institute for Public Health, Washington University Women’s Society, Washington University in St. Louis and others.