Several buildings, including City Hall, lit up amber at dusk on Tuesday as a part of the nationwide Memorial to Lives Lost to COVID-19 event.
"The socially distanced memorial will follow all safety protocols and include remarks from Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and invited faith leaders. The combined Honor Guard from the Houston Police Department and Houston Fire Department also will participate," the city said in a statement.
"It is important that our City and country unite at this time and reflect on the devastating impact COVID-19 has inflicted on our communities. A lot of families are grieving the loss of a loved one. Hosting a memorial and remembering people who died due to complications from the virus will be a nonpartisan event. I encourage everyone to join us by illuminating your building, ringing a bell, and watching the virtual program," Turner said.
The speakers included:
- Mayor Sylvester Turner, City of Houston
- Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo
- Assistant Commander Carlos Pascualli, Houston Fire Department
- Rabbi Oren Hayon, Congregation Emanu El
- Combined Honor Guard from the Houston Police Department and Houston Fire Department and Police Department
- Ms. Nicole Heaston, Soprano, Houston Grand Opera
- Rev. Tami Wilson, Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church
- Shariq Ghani, Minaret Foundation
- Senior Minister Michael A. Pender, Sr.
Here's a list of buildings that participated:
- City Hall
- Partnership Tower
- The Wortham
- Jones Hall
- 7 Wonders (Theatre District - west of the Wortham)
- The Lyric Center
- Main Street square
- Montrose Highway 59 bridges/Interstate 69
- The Wharf (art piece in front of the GRB)
- Uptown Park/Post Oak
- George Bush Airport
- Hobby Airport
Other buildings also joined the display.
In Washington D.C., the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool as well as other buildings also lit up amber. Church bells rang across the country as a part of a national moment of unity and remembrance.
"The program in Washington D.C. will emphasize the importance of looking back and remembering the lives we have lost to COVID-19 as we look forward to the hope of a new path and a brighter future," a release said.
The event is part of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony.
Houston’s own gospel singer Yolanda Adams gave a powerful performance, standing alongside Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, with her rendition of “Hallelujah."
The Texas Southern University Debate Team also shone Tuesday night, performing in the “We are One” preinaugural event.
“It’s just absolutely awesome and it feels so good,” said Gloria Batiste-Roberts, the team’s head coach.
The team was invited to perform a 2-minute speech, which Batiste-Roberts wrote.
“I wanted to convey a sense of hope,” Batiste-Roberts explained. “That we will survive and that this too shall pass.”