Before ringing in the new year Thursday night, many across the North Shore took the time to honor all who died and suffered from COVID-19.
The grassroots initiative was the brainchild of Wilmette’s Malaika Myers. Her social media post on Dec. 21 gained a following in Wilmette and neighboring communities like Evanston, Kenilworth and Northfield, where residents stood outside their homes with a lit candle in memoriam.
“I was thinking about the new year and how we wouldn’t celebrate in a way we are accustomed to,” Myers told The Record. “I think it is something that can bring people together and allow us to remember and perhaps have a bit of unity as we embark on 2021.”
Myers’ father died from the coronavirus in March in New York.
Like so many others, Myers could not see her father before he passed away. The tribute on Thursday was for him, but also for the other 300,000-plus individuals whom the virus killed in 2020.
On Myers’ initial NextDoor post, dozens of locals commented to say they’d participate, many of them mentioned a loved one — a brother, sister, family friend — they lost in 2020.
“It hit people in ways I wouldn’t have anticipated,” Myers said of her post.