The scorching tribute embodies the anger of critics who say that governments at multiple levels fail to do their most basic duty: citizen security. The obituary also nods to the disproportionate impact of the outbreak on black and Hispanic communities who have had increased hospitalizations and coronavirus deaths.
Leaders that Kristin Urquiza believes her father, a Phoenix-based Mexican who worked in manufacturing, have failed include Arizona governor Doug Ducey (R) and the Trump administration. Ducey, she said, “has blood on her hands”
Patrick Ptak, a spokesman for Ducey, said in a statement: “Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of Mark Anthony Urquiza. We know that nothing can completely alleviate the pain associated with its loss, and any loss from this virus is tragic. “
A Trump spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mark Urquiza rarely left the house while Arizona’s order to stay at home existed except for doing the job that was considered essential, his daughter said. He started dating friends after Ducey and Trump said people could safely go back to normal life, even when his daughter asked him to stay home.
Kristin Urquiza recalls that her father told her that the governor had encouraged residents to go back to public attention when the state opened up. Why would he do that if it was still dangerous? Mark Urquiza asked his daughter.
“Despite all the efforts I made to protect my parents, I was unable to compete with the governor’s office and the Trump administration,” said Kristin Urquiza.
Inspired by the famous AIDS quilt, which is supposed to humanize the victims, Kristin Urquiza wrote to Ducey and asked him to attend her father’s funeral to see a result of what she saw as “inaction and active rejection” of the effects of the pandemic called. Ducey’s office, she said, didn’t answer.
Ptak declined to say whether the governor had received the request and whether someone from his office answered.
About three weeks after Arizona’s stay at home, Mark Urquiza developed a cough and high fever, according to his daughter. His family made him take a coronavirus test the next day, but Kristin Urquiza said he never got the result.
On June 16, Mark Urquiza felt so sick that he asked to go to a hospital. There, his daughter said, he tested positive for the virus.
Kristin Urquiza said she had trouble getting news about her father’s condition from his doctors and nurses, who were stretched thin by a flood of patients. Sometimes, she said, her family phoned hospital staff for hours and tried desperately to get information.
Mark Urquiza died on June 30, four days after entering intensive care. His family never found out how he got infected. A GoFundMe site raised money for his funeral.
Kristin Urquiza said that since her father’s death, she feels that a storm is forming in her body that is preparing to settle in the desert of her home state. She launched an Ofrenda, a traditional Mexican exhibition in honor of the dead, for her father outside of the state capital. When it was time to write his obituary, Kristin Urquiza said: “I had no question that I would not simply tell the truth.”
She has also brought her anger into a social media campaign called “Marked by Covid,” which uses a play with her father’s name to spread information about Covid-19 in hopes of sparing other families from suffering similarly. She said the Trump administration should create an enforceable federal mask requirement and stop minimizing its health experts’ advice.
The nation’s leaders, Kristin Urquiza, have failed to lead.
“This whole tragedy is to blame for terrible politics,” she said, “and inconsistent and embarrassing leadership on top of that.”