My mom made the front page of the NY Times today (for a sad reason)

cover of the nyt featuring mark's mother, alice coopersmith furst

The NYT remembered 1,000 victims of COVID, including my mother Alice. She was in the fourth column, above the fold. She would’ve loved that, having grown up in Manhattan and always a bit of New York girl at heart.

Alice Coopersmith Furst passed away from complications of COVID-19 a few weeks ago. She was 87. She lived a great life, but recently had been in declining health and was definitely at risk. She succumbed quickly and peacefully. No messing around, that COVID. And fortunately no long drawn out battle.  She is in a better place, looking down and smiling at all of us, with that special “Alice twinkle” in her eyes.

Alice was one of 1,000 victims of COVID 19 that the New York Times included in this piece. And that represents just 1% of all who have died so far in the U.S.  As with each of these 1,000 entries, mom’s  profile was very brief:

Alice Coopersmith Furst, 87, Kentfield, California, in the first class of girls admitted to the Bronx High School of Science.

Sunday NY Times May 24, 2020 – Honoring my mother and 999 others

That’s what the New York Times did with each of the 1,000 people they highlighted. Identified one thing they found of note. They picked well. Mom was very proud of that accomplishment.

I love the subhead of that piece: “They Were Not Simply Names on a List. They Were Us.”

Thank you New York Times. And thank you LA Times and our local NBC Bay Area TV station who ran longer pieces and news stories on my mom and so many others.  All as part of the effort to put a human face on this crisis. While of course Alice was special to me – as mother and grandmother, teacher and speech therapist, and so much more – she would have passed quite anonymously but for these efforts. I am grateful.

It seems so easy to blame the media for many of our issues and the divisiveness that has gripped our country, even in the midst of this pandemic. But it’s also important to remember the essential role that responsible media plays, not just in finding facts, but also telling stories.

This is a great time for us to come together. And to remember. On this Memorial Day weekend.

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