Providence, Rhode Island (March 1, 2021): For the next several days, Rhode Islanders will have a place to honor those lost to COVID-19 and to reflect on the impacts the ongoing pandemic has had on their lives.
Accel Lifestyle, along with Kimberly Poland, founder and president of Poland Media Group, and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza hosted a special ceremony Monday, during which a six-foot, heart-shaped garland of roses was placed at the base of the Providence River Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge at 365 South Main Street. The ceremony was part of a national movement started by The Floral Heart Project, which included ceremonies across the country to coincide with the proposed National Day of Mourning.
“The global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of many in this past year in detrimental ways. Whether through job loss, illness or grieving the passing of a loved one, everyone has seem the impact of this pandemic. Today’s Floral Heart Project ceremony allows us to come together and remember those individuals we have lost and the contributions they made to our community,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza “I would like to thank The Floral Heart Project for bringing us together through unity and healing to remember those no longer with us.”
Due to social distancing guidelines, the ceremony was kept to just a few participants. However, the rose-shaped heart – which was designed by Paul Quadros, owner of P&J Florist in East Providence, Rhode Island, and donated by 1-800-FLOWERS.com – will remain in place through Friday at the base of the bridge on land owned by I-195 Redevelopment District. This will allow the public the opportunity to view the living memorial and to mourn in their own way, whether by laying flowers on the floral heart or releasing rose petals into the Providence River.
The Floral Heart Project is an ongoing effort by artist Kristina Libby to help provide healing, compassion, and sympathy for those impacted by COVID-19. In an effort to have a floral heart placed in all 50 states on March 1, Libby reached out to her friend, Accel Lifestyle Founder and CEO Megan Eddings for help organizing events in both Rhode Island and Houston, Texas. Eddings is a Rhode Island native currently based in Houston. She is very involved in both communities and jumped at the chance to help Libby spread The Floral Heart Project’s message of love, support, and unity. To make events happen in both cities, Eddings enlisted Poland Media Group’s Kimberly Poland to spearhead efforts in Providence and Houston.
“At its core, Accel Lifestyle is about embracing positivity. While there is nothing positive about COVID-19 and the deaths it has caused, the mission of The Floral Heart Project to encourage unity and healing is beautiful and profound,” Eddings said, “We hope to bring some beauty into the lives of those who are grieving and, by providing them a way to come together and express their grief, allow them to begin to heal.”
“Even for those who have not lost a loved one due to COVID, the pandemic has had a profound effect on all of our lives,” Poland said. “We’re honored to be able to provide the community a positive way to come together and begin the healing process.”
The Floral Heart Project began in April 2020 and has gotten national media attention from outlets like The New York Times, CNN, and the New York Post. While the project is non-partisan, the effort on March 1st is aligned with Marked by COVID’s work to create a National Day of Mourning. The Floral Heart Project supports efforts that are actively focused on creating memorials now and permanent memorials in the future.
All Photos Credit: Blueflash
About The Floral Heart Project:
The Floral Heart Project is an ongoing effort by artist Kristina Libby to help provide healing, compassion and sympathy for those impacted by COVID-19. It began with her research on the potential impacts on society from the pandemic and was furthered with the revealing data that for every person we lose, 2-9 people will experience severe PTSD. Worried about the current state of our country, she felt that we could not withstand this deep psychological wound without help. Her contribution has been to create visualizations of those we have lost and to hold vigils and ritual ceremonies for those suffering as part of the Floral Heart Project.
The project is meant to be simple for anyone, anywhere to understand. She chose flowers as they are a traditional gift during loss and hearts because they are a simple way to showcase love and support. The hearts have appeared, with the support of 1-800-Flowers.COM, in Times Square, Bryant Park, Herald Square and iconic locations around New York City and all over the US.
About Accel Lifestyle:
Founded by Megan Eddings – the creative chemist who developed Prema® fabric – Accel Lifestyle is the first ethical activewear brand for people who sweat and want to smell fresh. Combining proprietary science, fashionable fitness apparel for women and men, and an ethical supply chain, Accel Lifestyle is creating a movement for positive change. Accel Lifestyle’s mission is to empower people and inspire them to “Accel”erate their lives by promoting confidence, making healthy choices, and helping others.
# # #