The “Strength and Love LA” memorial called for Angelenos “to help, care for, and stand with one another through fear and heartbreak never felt before,” said Mayor Garcetti.
Last week, Mayor Eric Garcetti launched Strength and Love LA, The City of Angels’ COVID-19 Memorial “to commemorate, honor, and remember those lost to COVID and those who have held the city together throughout the pandemic.”
The memorial proceedings lit up City Hall with a brightly projected “Dodger Blue”, preceded by memos, emails, media kits and social media posts calling for all to participate.
However, when Thursday, November 18th arrived and all were expected to “honor first responders, essential workers, small businesses owners, community organizations, caregivers, neighbors, and families hit hardest by the pandemic” by clapping, lighting a candle, or posting #strengthandlovela on personal social media pages, the city seemed to stay relatively quiet with the only cheers heard in DTLA coming from outdoor bar stools brought on by whisky toast and appetizing finger foods.
This was stark contrast to the early days of Covid when DLANC organized a successful nightly neighborhood clapping back in 2020. In those days of Covid unexpected, it seemed the honorable thing to do, and we stayed true to our nightly hoist of voices, flashing lights and cheering with a vigor like no other. So what changed?
Carefully placed white flags marked the memorial at Griffin Observatory, where the Mayor had made his first video announcement (in English and in Spanish) and in all it seemed like a good DTLA jester. In the end, there were a few photos from local photographers and passers enamored by the lights on City Hall.
Yet, after reading the Mayor Of LAs Instagram comment section, it seemed all hope was lost along with faith in the Mayor of our great city attributed to the pressure the city was putting on those his office was claiming to exalt while at the same time ignoring their perceived rights to freedom of choice when it came to their personal medical decisions and autonomy.
As the nasty battle rages on between the vaxxed and Unvaxxed, it would seem, however on these particular post the vaxxed backed down, allowing the Mayor’s social media team to take on the blunt of negativity.
Then, over the course of the daily triad; literally less than 200 post came from Angelenos featuring the desired hashtag with the majority of those post centering around photos of the white flag installation memorializing the nearly 27,000 lives lost to COVID-19 across Los Angeles County on display at Griffin Observatory.
UCLA and USC chimed in, producing video messages, along with some medical staff, and a few housewives. One post showed a lone candle burning from the window in the Hsitoric Core and there was even a doggie named Honey Pooch proudly sharing the LOVE and Strength poster who managed to muster around 18 likes.
Oddly enough, the Mayor’s Strength and Love LA campaign saw no love from the any of the Downtown BIDS who’ve taken on the responsibility to promote happenings and local businesses in each district. City Central, Historic Core, South Park maybe missed the memo? However, Metro LA and this community news outlet felt it was a kind endeavor.
What had changed, from 2020? Had we all lost our empathy for the front line workers and victims of the virus? We’re we punishing the Mayor? Or maybe it was the feeling like every single one of us had become victims of the Covid pandemic although we may not have all suffered in the same degree. Perhaps the Mayor should have asked us to burn a candle for ourselves as victims of stress, change and financial worry, and made it clear that no group of people should be particularly memorialized as we all needed a white flag to represent the life changes being thrust upon us and the obvious death of our former selves.
What ever the reason, even the Mayor’s social media page seemed to lose hope as the City wide endeavor dwindled with enthusiasm the moment the memorial ended.
To learn more about the memorial visit LAMayor.org/COVIDmemorial.