Pelosi Remarks at ‘In America’ Art Installation Honoring COVID-19 Victims

Nov 2, 2020
Press Release
Contact: Speaker’s Press Office,
202-226-7616
 
 
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Pelosi joined Mayor Muriel Bowser and Chef José Andrés at the "IN AMERICA, How Could This Happen ..." public art project, a space for national mourning to honor those in the U.S. who have died from COVID-19, created by Washington, D.C.-area artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
 
Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you very much, José, not only for your wonderful introduction, which I’m sure my grandson, Thomas, will appreciate, but for being such a force of charity to so many people.  Whether it was a government shutdown and people didn’t have jobs and were not being paid, you fed the people.  When it was, whether it was hurricanes, earthquakes, whatever happens, fires, you are there to feed the people.  You are a source of great charity, charity, and that is why it is such an honor to be with you today. 
 
So, let’s start with the three most important – the virtues: faith, hope and charity.  Suzanne Firstenberg and her husband, Doug, and their children have faith.  They believe that the arts will send a message to make the change that is necessary.  They believe that this impression will inspire people, will make them sad, but also make them strong to say, ‘What can we do to stop this?’ 
 
I’ve known Doug and Suzanne for over thirty years.  I remember when their children were born.  So, it’s a personal privilege for me to be here with them today and to see this remarkable demonstration of the arts.  
 
I always believe that the arts can bring us together, whatever our differences, because we cry together, we mourn together, we’re inspired together. And that faith – if you didn’t have faith that it could make change, you wouldn’t be doing this.  So, thank you for your deep faith, and that faith is in the goodness of others and the faith is in the goodness of people – who is like José Andrés?
 
But as I said earlier, a source of great charity, a source of great charity.  It’s such an honor that he is here.  And my understanding is that some people want to make contributions and that you are – well, you probably will announce that, it will be to feed the hungry, a biblical call to feed the hungry that Chef José Andrés honors all the time. 
 
So, we have faith, in the goodness of others, that gives us hope: that is our Mayor.  She is such a fabulous leader.  She sees it all in perspective.  She sees it all in perspective.  She leads with strength, with charity, with faith and she therefore gives us hope. 
 
The Mayor has had one of the biggest challenges, because so many things have been happening around this and everything that goes with it without going into any detail there. 
 
But I have seen her in action, and it fills me with emotion to see her standing with John Lewis when he made his last appearance in Washington, D.C., on his way home to Atlanta to go on his way home to Heaven, with the Mayor at Black Lives Matter Plaza on that occasion. 
 
But it said so much, the visual.  It said so much about all that people have been through but the hope that we have for the future. 
 
So, Suzanne and Doug, and Suzanne especially to you, the artist, I know people are going to be coming to write names on these flags as well, of loved ones that they have lost.  It’s almost incomprehensible that here in America this would happen. 
 
But thank you for giving us this optic, this visual manifestation of it, not only the lives – how horrible all these are, but the families, the families, the communities, that have lost, maybe 1,000 health care providers.  Health care providers, they risk their lives to save lives and now here they are, here they are in this display. 
 
So, thank you, Suzanne, for giving us this opportunity.  How appropriate at RFK, because at RFK devoted his life to faith, hope and charity.  So, I’m honored to be here with all of you.  I’m honored to be with my grandson and my daughter, so that they could see, they could see what you made a decision to do and all of that is involved, involving your family to plant these flags.  And Mayor, it’s wonderful that it will be here until the end November, so that many more people can see this. 
 
Thank you all very much.  Let us always pray.  Thank you. 
 
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