Kristin Urquiza gave one of the most powerful speeches of the night at the Democratic National Convention when she shared how her father trusted Trump when he said the pandemic would go away. Her father, Mark Anthony Urquiza, died of the coronavirus on June 30 at 65. He’d gone to a karaoke bar after the stay at home order was lifted at the end of May in Arizona and contracted the virus.
“He had faith in Donald Trump, he voted for him, listened to him, believed him and his mouthpieces when they said coronavirus was under control and going to disappear,” Urquiza said during her nearly 3-minute speech. “That it was okay to end social distancing rules before it was safe and that if you had no underlying health conditions you’d probably be fine.”
Mark Urquiza became ill on June 11 and tested positive for COVID-19 the next day and five days later he needed to be hospitalized. He was kept on a high oxygen treatment for 10 days before he was moved to the ICU and put on a ventilator and died four days later. He had no underlying health conditions, according to Kristin.
“His only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump.”
This was the last picture my dad sent to me before he passed. I miss him every day. He should be here today. I launched @MarkedByCovid I his memory to help people share their stories and hold politicians accountable. Join us. pic.twitter.com/eT4Iz8OlV4
— Kristin Urquiza, MPA (she/her) (@kdurquiza) August 18, 2020
She wrote her father’s obituary and it went viral in July for her scathing words blaming politicians for his death. “His death is due to the carelessness of the politicians who continue to jeopardize the health of 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.”
Recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show that Black, indigenous and Latinx people are affected the most by Covid-19. Kristin’s dad immigrated from Durango, Mexico, and grew up in Tolleson in Maricopa County where a majority of the population is Latinx and working class. She told NPR that her dad trusted Arizona Governor Doug Ducey when he lifted the stay at home order and opened up businesses on May 15.
“And so my mother and I were talking to my dad about, you know, what we should be doing as a family and individually. My dad came back to say, well, why should I not go out and meet up with some friends? The governor’s saying it’s OK.” Ducey closed bars again June 29 but Kristin holds him and Trump accountable for downplaying the severity of the virus.
“We cannot forget that this tragedy is due to the carelessness of AZ Governor Doug Ducey and Donald Trump. Mark was only following the lead of the people in charge,” she wrote in the GoFundMe they launched for funeral expenses and aid for her mother who was also diagnosed with Covid-19.
This is me trying to keep my shit together before a webinar as I realize there are 149,999 other families going through what I’m going through right now. How many more are #markedbycovid countless. Never forget, this was preventable. #TrumpVirus #Grief #COVID19 #MandateMasks pic.twitter.com/gZyRuDL7Vu
— Kristin Urquiza, MPA (she/her) (@kdurquiza) July 30, 2020
She also shared that she founded “Marked by COVID” to provide information about the coronavirus in Maricopa County. On Aug. 13 on what would have been his 66th birthday, they hosted a day of action with a vigil and ofrenda for those who’ve died of the virus.
Biden wrote a letter to Kristin on July 21 send his condolences, AZCentral reports, and at the end of her speech at the DNC she stated she’d be voting for Biden and do it in honor of her father.
“Donald Trump may not have caused the coronavirus but his dishonesty and his irresponsible actions made it so much worse. We need a leader who has a national, coordinated, data-driven response to stop this pandemic from claiming more lives and to safely reopen the country.”