Her father died from COVID-19 and she turned to activism. Now, her work is going national

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Monday, November 22, 2021 - 11:23am

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Photos at the vigil for Mark “Black Jack” Urquiza,
Ben Giles/KJZZ
Photos at the vigil for Mark “Black Jack” Urquiza, at the Arizona Capitol on July 8, 2020.

In the summer of 2020, Kristin Urquiza lost her father — like so many others — to COVID-19. Mark “Black Jack” Urquiza was one of 97 people who died of the virus in Arizona on July 15 of last year.

But Urquiza didn’t just grieve her father’s death and try to move on with her life. She turned it into activism. She turned his obituary into a protest and invited Gov. Doug Ducey to a vigil in his honor, claiming his lax coronavirus restrictions led to his death.

She founded the organization Marked By COVID, and since, has been advocating on behalf of what she calls an important constituency — those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. In the last year and a half, she’s grown the organization — and its impact. She even spoke at the Democratic National Convention and got national attention for her powerful message denouncing then-President Donald Trump.

Now, as cases rise and the spread of the virus continues, she is working with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to create a national day of remembrance for COVID-19 victims, among other things.

The Show spoke with her to learn about her work and her perspective nearly two years into the pandemic.

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