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Pop-up COVID-19 slideshow memorializes virus victims who have died

The COVID Memorial started in Washington, D.C., but as the organizers are from Austin, they decided to make at least the next handful of showings in the capital.

AUSTIN, Texas — Social media posts calling for people to continue social distancing and honoring those who have died from the coronavirus flashed across a blank wall kitty-corner from the Governor's Mansion in Downtown Austin on Saturday night.

The COVID Memorial, organized by various artists and activists, pulls public social media posts from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to help remember those who have died from COVID-19. Many of the posts honor loved ones – friends and family members – while also reminding people of safe practices during the pandemic.

"The two things we see most often are: one, asking other people to keep social distancing to keep the most vulnerable in our community safe, and two, just how hard it is to be alone when a loved one dies and not be able to go to their bedside," Duncan Meisel, one of the organizers, said.

Meisel said the projection memorial started in Washington, D.C., but made its second stop in the Texas capital on Saturday. The first projection in D.C. was 10 days ago. Now, it's a matter of finding more places to project the slideshow where organizers like Meisel feel it's safe to do so by continuing to follow local, regional and national safe practices for COVID-19.

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On Saturday, the memorial projected social media posts and photos onto a blank wall across from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for about an hour.

"This is a crisis that is literally happening behind closed doors," Meisel said. "We're all going through it in isolation, and it's very important to connect with each other and mourn what is actually an incredible loss to our country."

Meisel said other people have reached out to COVID Memorial on social media to find places to display the slideshow in their city. For the time being, the memorial will remain in Austin, as it's Meisel's hometown. Locations will change every night while Meisel and other organizers determine if it's best to publicly disclose the location or not in an effort to prevent people from breaking social distancing recommendations.

LIVE at Texas governor's mansion: @COVID Memorial projects stories of loved ones lost to COVID-19.

Over 65,000 American lives have been lost to COVID-19. We will remember them, and continue to support and protect each other. Visit covidmemorial.online to share your story of a loved one, or make your own projection near you.

Posted by COVID Memorial on Saturday, May 2, 2020

If you would like to watch the memorial slideshow, you can do so on the COVID Memorial website.

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