A group of COVID-19 survivors remembered those who have died with 1,000 empty chairs set up in front of the Georgia Capitol on Wednesday. GPB’s Ellen Eldridge reports.

1000 empty chairs outside the Georgia state Capitol
Caption
A group of COVID-19 survivors memorialized those who have died with 1,000 empty chairs set up in front of the Georgia Capitol Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020.
Credit: Screenshot from Facebook.com/covidsurvivorsforchange

A group of COVID-19 survivors remembered those who have died with 1,000 empty chairs set up in front of the Georgia Capitol on Wednesday.

Each chair represented nearly 10 Georgians who have died from COVID-19 this year as well as those who suffered lingering symptoms for months after clearing the virus. 

As of the most recent update from the state health department, 9,250 Georgians have died of COVID-19 and 910 more deaths are considered "probable."

María Del Rosario Palacios is a COVID-19 survivor from Gainesville. So are her mother and children. She says she wants to honor her grandfather and others who didn’t make it. 

"Lives lost like my grandfather's, lives lost like my partner's grandmother, lives lost like the high school friend who I did not spend enough time with," she said. "This Remembrance Day is not just about me, it's not just about my family."

Del Rosario Palacios urged those listening not to forget a single life lost.

"We are here today so that none of those breaths that were taken in difficulty are forgotten, none of the last breaths that were taken in isolation in hospitals across our great state are ever forgotten," she said.

In addition to remembering those lost, Del Rosario Palacios and other survivors called upon those in power in the state and across the nation.

"We need to unite — we need to be resilient," Del Rosario Palacios said. "And we need to persevere and remind our policymakers that they cannot in that Capitol forget for a second the lives of the essential workers, the lives of those exposed to COVID-19 when we could have risen to the challenge as a country and definitely as a state."

The group calls itself COVID Survivors for Change. Its mission is to support and advocate for those affected by COVID-19. The entire memorial is available on the group's Facebook page.