Fiana Tulip, the woman who invited Texas Gov.
Greg Abbott to her mother’s funeral “to witness first-hand the tragedy” of mourning.
On Wednesday, Tulip told Don Lemon in a CNN report that her mom ‘could still be alive had there been a mask mandate much earlier on and had Texas stayed closed.’
Isabelle Papadimitriou, Tulip’s mom was a respiratory therapist in Dallas, Texas, when the pandemic came to the state and then to her hospital. The only places Papadimitriou went during that time were work and home, her daughter said.
“My mother was a frontline worker and she didn’t have the option to Netflix and chill. … She had to go to work,” she said. “Whether these frontline workers want to be heroes or not, they don’t have a choice.”
Tulip believes her mom contracted the virus during Abbott’s executive order restricting local leaders from implementing mask requirements. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than 363,615 people have contracted the virus in Texas, and 4,439 people have died.
Papadimitriou started feeling ill on a Saturday, and died a week later on July 4, Tulip said. Abbott issued a statewide mask mandate on July 2.
But Tulip has channeled her grief into action, encouraging people to take the coronavirus seriously. Although she was sad, shocked, and upset the first few days, she quickly began to think about the ways she believes the state has fallen short in coronavirus prevention.
“I looked at the way that Texas’ leaders were handling the virus and it just seemed reckless and careless,” Tulip said. “I couldn’t understand why they opened up so early and as cases continued to spike, they continued to open up.”
In an open letter that accompanied her mother’s obituary published in the Austin American-Statesman, Tulip specifically mentioned Abbott, writing that his “inaction and active denial” of the virus’s devastation mean those lost are “just numbers to you.”
Tulip also invited Abbott to her mother’s burial “to witness first-hand the tragedy of my brother and I mourning our incredible mother who gave her life to save others.”
Abbott hasn’t responded publicly to the letter and Tulip said she has not heard from his office.