In a night full of powerful speakers at the Democratic National Convention, none resonated the hardest with viewers than Kristin Urquiza, the Marked by COVID founder who laid the blame of her father’s death at President Donald Trump‘s feet. Urquiza is tirelessly channeling her grief into activism and fighting for the over 160,000 victims of the COVID-19 crisis in the United States. Here’s what else you should know about her:
1. Her father, Mark Urquiza, died of COVID-19 on June 30. Mark, an otherwise healthy 65-year-old, contracted coronavirus shortly after heading to a karaoke bar when Arizona’s stay-at-home orders lifted. He died after a three-week battle with the disease, living the last five days of his life in the ICU, hooked to a ventilator. “His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that, he paid with his life,” Urquiza said in her DNC speech.
2. She blamed Trump for his death at the DNC. “My dad, Mark Anthony Urquiza, should be here today but he isn’t,” Urquiza stated in her passionate speech. “He had faith in Donald Trump. He voted for him, listened to him, believed him and his mouthpieces when they said that coronavirus was under control and going to disappear… One of the last things that my father said to me was that he felt betrayed by the likes of Donald Trump. And so when I cast my vote for Joe Biden, I will do it for my dad.”
3. She started the organization Marked by COVID. Urquiza started Marked by COVID to “honor her father, collect stories of people who have been impacted by COVID-19, and inspire safer public health policies,” according to the site’s mission statement. “We’re building a movement to fight back against misinformation, uplift the stories of those affected, and hold elected officials accountable to do their job.”
4. She encourages COVID-19 victims’ families to write honest obituaries after their deaths. Marked by COVID will even pay to have obituaries placed if you can’t afford it. Kirstin included the following in her tribute to her father: “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 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.”
5. She has endorsed Joe Biden for president. “We need a leader who has a national, coordinated, data-driven response to stop the pandemic from claiming more lives and safely reopen the country. We need a leader who will step in on day one and do his job: to care,” she said at the DNC.